A cross-party group of MPs wants the Government to commit to a major drive on building social homes to pull the nation out of what it called a “social housing crisis”.
In a new report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Select Committee, research showed ministers will need to think smarter about how public land is used and seriously increase funding to councils – and ensure 90,000 social homes are built a year to beat the current shortfall.
Despite ministers setting out a target of 300,000 new social homes per year by 2025, the volume of social housing created since the announcement in 2017 has stayed in the low thousands.
It will take a funding uplift of £10bn a year to get the social housing initiative on track, the committee said.
The number of households living in temporary accommodation like B&Bs and hostels has soared by 82 per cent in the past decade, with the number of rough sleepers shooting up by 165 per cent in the same period, according to pre-Covid-19 counts. The HCLG committee estimated that more than a million homes were lost from England’s social housing stock since 1981, yet only 6,827 new homes were built last year.
Councils and social housing providers are “at the limits of what can be achieved” on current budgets, the report said, but the Government could reduce the public spending required if it used public land to build on instead of selling it for revenue. “The Government’s strategy of disposing of public land to the highest bidder is wrong headed,” the committee said.