Last week the coalition announced that they were going to halve investment in social housing….but at the same time they promised that an additional 150,000 homes would be built over the next four years. Really? It all sounds too good to be true. Well, maybe not: apparently there are people queuing up to invest in housing associations.
Would you believe, the private sector is champing at the bit to replace public sector as the sole supplier of social housing? Why? Because investors think that a third of potential tenants are able to afford at least 80% of private sector rents, which would easily subsidise those who couldn’t afford them – and they see a good return on their investment.
Okay, if there is such enthusiasm for investing in social housing, shouldn’t we be taking advantage of this? There are 1.8 million families on council house waiting lists. Isn’t there an opportunity to do something about this – and in double quick time? Shouldn’t we be thinking big?
Why don’t we have a target of 500,000 homes a year? Let’s get people properly housed and improve the quality of their lives. Let’s have a goal to eliminate all housing waiting lists by the end of this parliament. What is everybody waiting for? If money is in plentiful supply, let’s get on with it!
Let’s have a ‘big idea’ about social housing!