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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Shelter Housing Commission calls for 3.1 million more social homes 11/01/2019 Labelled as Development, Scrutiny, Regulation, Tenants

Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, Shelter appointed a commission of 16 people, to lead a national conversation about the future of social housing in England in the twenty first century.

 

The cross-party group of commissioners represented a diverse range of political views and life experiences, from former government ministers to residents, and was chaired by the Reverend Mike Long, from the Grenfell community.

 

They spent a year listening to the views of hundreds of social tenants, 31,000 members of the public and a range of housing experts. The resulting report sets out a bold, ambitious vision for what social housing should be and who should have the opportunity to live in it.

 

For generations, social housing played a vital role in meeting the housing needs of ordinary people, giving millions the quality and dignity of life that insecure and unaffordable private renting could not. The vision of the Commission's report aims to recapture this purpose, rather than just have social housing as "an ambulance service" for the most needy. It seeks to create a modern, greatly expanded social housing sector which will provide stable, affordable homes to millions of struggling families, key workers and older renters who are being failed by the current system.

 

Chapter 5 of the report sets out a new vision for social housing:

 

'A new vision for social housing must embrace its potential to provide homes for people from all walks of life. It should provide both security for those in need and a step up for young families trying to get on and save for their future. We envisage a new generation of social housing, providing desirable homes for nurses, mechanics, and others who are struggling in the private rented sector - as well as for those who are homeless, older, or unable to work.'

 

The commissioners are recommending that the government invests in a major 20-year social housebuilding programme, recommending the building of 3.1 million new social homes over the next 20 years; an average of 155,000 a year.

 

They call on all political parties to rediscover publicly built housing as a key pillar of national infrastructure. The report uses analysis from Capital Economics to make a compelling case for the economic benefits of such an investment which estimates the programme would cost £10.7 billion a year. However, two-thirds of this would be quickly recouped through reductions in housing benefit spending, and increased tax revenues - with the programme paying for itself after 39 years. The Commissioners argue that even the initial outlay represents a fraction of the government's overall capital expenditure budget and is far less than is spent on other infrastructure projects like HS2.

 

The report also includes ideas for making this new social sector better, as well as bigger, with recommendations to improve standards and strengthen the voice of tenants.

 

Shelter says that the report, launched on 8 January, marks not the end of a process, but the beginning of a new chapter in Shelter's work to solve the housing crisis and states that the recommendations and vision outlined in the report will form the foundation of Shelter's future policy work and campaigning on social housing over the next few years, as the organisation seeks to get all parties to commit to the ideas set out in the report by 2022 at the latest.

 

Read the full report "Building for our future - a vision for social housing"

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