The Local Government Association (LGA) warns council housing waiting lists could almost double next year to as many as 2.1 million households, due to Covid-19 support schemes winding down and a potential increase in homelessness.
A new report, titled ‘Building post-pandemic prosperity’, found one in ten households in need of housing are stuck on council waiting lists for over five years.
The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling on the Chancellor to give councils the powers and funding to build 100,000 social homes for rent each year, which would achieve a third of the government’s annual housing target and is expected to improve public finances over 30 years by £24.5bn.
The report also found more than 100,000 fewer new homes will be built across all tenures by 2023 than would have been without the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cllr David Renard, LGA housing spokesperson, said: ‘There is a desperate need to build more social housing in this country, which should be a central part of the Government’s ambition to level-up and build back better following the pandemic. Social housing gives families the security and stability of a decent home, as well as being a route to owning your own home through Right to Buy.
‘Now is the time to reverse the decline in council housing over the past few decades. The benefits are clear – a programme of 100,000 social homes a year would shorten council housing waiting lists, reduce homelessness and cut carbon emissions, while delivering a multi-billion long-term boost to the economy. Councils stand ready to work with the Government to tackle our housing crisis, but need the powers to build homes with the right infrastructure on this scale in the Spending Review.’
Sarita-Marie Rehman Wall, National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) chair and tenant board member, added: ‘The struggle to find a good home, and a home you can afford, is now very real and very tough for millions of people. Our national housing shortage isn’t just hitting one small group. It is creating hardship for all kinds of people in all walks of life, whether we’re talking about young people just heading out into adult or family life, or older people whose income drops at the very time when their need for support and the right kind of home increases.
‘The housing struggle is also real for many of our key workers, who have to manage on less than generous wages, and for those who work 40 hours a week and still can’t manage without help. It’s real for those on precarious contracts that don’t guarantee them enough hours, and those who have lost savings, jobs and homes in the pandemic. And even if we personally aren’t among these people, this report shows how the whole country is suffering in some way from lack of investment in social housing. We all need these extra homes. We all need the economic boost, the new jobs and the investment in our communities that building them will bring. Everyone will benefit if we change this now.’
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