Conservative councillors seek low-cost rented homes

Responding to a poll, 71 per cent of Conservative council leaders and housing leads warn that current government investment will not deliver the number of low-cost rented homes needed in their area.

Ahead of the government’s upcoming Social Housing Green Paper, the poll of 121 senior Conservative councillors highlights concern that the £2 billion of funding for affordable housing announced last year if not sufficient enough. 96 per cent of those surveyed argued that the paper must address the supply of low-cost rented homes as part of its comprehensive review of affordable housing in England.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, who ran the poll, said: “Homelessness and poverty should have no place in our society. However, right now millions of people are locked out of being able to achieve a decent standard of living due to crippling rents.

“There is widespread consensus in every region, every political party and across the entire housing sector that we need significantly more investment in low-cost rented housing. Though, we are yet to see action from the government on the scale required to tackle the housing crisis facing millions of people across England. Struggling families are relying on the Prime Minister to live up to her stated mission of redesigning our housing market so it works for everyone. Only by addressing the chronic shortfall in the supply of low-cost rented homes, can the government begin to loosen the grip of poverty.”

Lord Porter, Conservative leader of South Holland District Council and Conservative Member of the House of Lords, added: “The last time the country built more than 250,000 homes a year councils built 40 per cent of them. If local government is to play our role in meeting these ambitious targets we need to be given greater freedom to build new homes. Housebuilding by councils at scale would boost local economies and productivity, reduce housing benefit spending and homelessness, put Right to Buy on a sustainable footing, and create revenue generating assets for communities.

“Last Autumn’s Budget saw a positive step in that direction when the Chancellor lifted the housing borrowing cap for councils in areas of high affordability pressure. Whilst welcoming this announcement we have consistently called for the cap to be lifted for all councils. Doing so would spark a renaissance in house building, allowing us in local government to do our bit to help address the housing crisis.”

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