Social housing key to levelling up agenda

Homelessness charity Shelter has warned that a failure to include social housing in the government’s upcoming ‘levelling up’ plan may escalate the housing emergency.

The charity’s new report, Levelling Up with Social Housing, looks at the housing emergency through three levelling up locations which lack affordable housing: Burnley, Plymouth and Sheffield. It shows an increase in private renters now relying on housing benefit, since the pandemic. The report comes as renters are under more intense pressure than ever this winter, with soaring fuel costs, the £20 cut to universal credit and shorter notice periods.

Shelter is warning that as the government is pouring billions into new projects such as roads, train stations and new town centres through its levelling up agenda, there is a risk that housing costs in these areas will increase. The charity is now urging the government  to take action to ensure that local people will benefit in the growth that comes from levelling up. It’s calling for investment in infrastructure to be matched pound for pound with investment in social housing under the levelling up agenda - to ensure local people aren’t priced out of their area.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “What the government needs to know about ‘Levelling Up’ is that without a clear commitment to building social housing specifically, this may prove impossible. You cannot solve the housing emergency without building decent homes people can afford to live in. A tangible improvement in people’s housing situation would significantly boost living standards, increase opportunities and truly represent levelling up.”

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