The number of council houses made available for social rent in England fell to its lowest figure yet in 2013/14 and was outstripped by the number sold off through the Right To Buy scheme.
Just 10,920 new homes with genuinely affordable rents were created during the last year, whilst 11,261 were purchased through Right To Buy according to figures from the DCLG. This is the first time more houses were sold through the scheme than were built since 2005/06. It is the lowest ever recorded number of new council houses and has fallen from 38,950 in 2010/11.
In addition 19,740 laughably called affordable homes were created, with rents usually set at 80% of the local private sector market – meaning they could run to hundreds of pounds a week in some parts of the UK. These homes do often not offer lifetime tenancies, but instead are fixed term and come with a range of conditions attached, including workfare in some cases. They are not social housing in the way most people understand it, and they are absolutely not what is needed in the midst of a record homelessness epidemic.
Even if you add all the new homes on ‘affordable’ rents and the small number created for ‘social rent’ then only just over 30,000 new homes were made available in 2013/14 – a fall of around 25% since 2010/11 and the second lowest figure in six years.
Elsewhere the news is equally bleak. In the most recent quarter the number of new houses being built by Housing Associations fell by 27%, and is down by almost two thirds from a year ago. Housebuilding overall fell by 10% from the previous quarter and is down 9% since this time last year.
Everybody knows that what is needed to solve the housing crisis is more council houses. Everyone knows that Right To Buy has been a disaster. Neither of the main parties plans to do anything about either, and Labour’s record on building socially rented homes was equally atrocious if not worse. The only people who benefit from the current shambles are property developers and landlords. And that’s who both the political parties are writing their housing policies for. The only thing more broken than the UK’s fucked housing market is the rotten and corrupt so-called democracy at Westminster.
The figure on social and affordable house-building can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply
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