ARK Consultancy welcomes the BBC’s recently published briefing on housing looking at the key issues within our sector.
The briefing focused on many of the issues within the sector that all of us are acutely aware of, 320,000 homelessness people with the number of people sleeping rough almost tripling since 2010, house price and rentals being unaffordable for many.
Most worryingly the report highlights that there are 2 million fewer social housing units than there were in 1979 with a million households in the UK on waiting lists.
The briefing estimates that the UK has a housing gap of 1.2m homes, and an extra 4m homes will be needed by 2035 taking into account population growth and the rate of housing completions. It also estimates that based on the 2017-18 figures of 275,000 new homes, if new dwelling development continues at the same rate, the housing gap could be closed by 2035.
Bridging the Gap – Recommendations endorsed by ARK
The report contains a number of recommendations to bridge the gap which ARK supports in particular:
Funding LA’s to build more homes – ARK have long campaigned that Local Authorities are well placed to deliver the level of new homes required and support the need for additional funding streams to be available. The report also recommends, and we endorse incentives to HA’s to increase social housing.
We also support calls to regulate the development of private land and relaxation of planning constraints could also increase supply and improve affordability but only in conjunction with funding or incentives as listed above.
We also welcome a call for central funding to improve existing homes and regulation, in a recent blog we highlighted the need for retrofitting of homes, additional funding to support this would obviously help deliver future sustainability targets.
The report also highlights potential incentives to accelerate home ownership through shared ownership or part buy and the lowering of stamp duty. The government also recently launched a consultation on its First Homes Initiative, which has raised concerns it could reduce the number of affordable homes provided through s106 agreements.
Overall, we believe the briefing contains a number of recommendations to help address the current housing crisis and future sustainability. We stand alongside our colleagues in the sector to challenge the newly appointed Housing Minister to ensure housing is at the top of the political agenda and the funding is made available to support the delivery of new truly affordable housing.
Christopher Pincher now has the enviable task of raising the profile of housing with Rishi Sunak in time for the budget. We wish him well and need him to be successful.