Government’s poor housing policies – By Marc Da Silva


Monday 14th June 2010

During the recent general election campaign, many sceptics warned that a Tory government would mean massive cuts for vital services ‘putting our hospitals, police and our health service at risk'. But what those people failed to mention was ‘housing' - a necessity that we all require, but one that so many people in this country are being denied.

Social housing waiting lists are not getting any shorter; the number of people living in overcrowded conditions will grow, while planned housing cuts could see fewer affordable homes built. This will lead to a rise in the volume of first-time buyers unable to get a foot on the property ladder.

Admittedly, residential construction levels diminished towards the end of Labour's last term in government, but that had a lot to do with the global economic collapse.

Now that the housing market and consumer confidence is improving, the new Tory-led coalition government needs to help housebuilders in their quest to build more new homes.

But early signs are that new home development levels could grind to a halt due to this government's poor housing policies, at least, that is what a new report suggests.

The National Housing Federation (NHF) said the number of new affordable homes built this year could slump by 65%.

Funding cuts and last week's changes to the planning system could lead to the construction of just 20,390 new build homes, the group said.

The NHF has written to Housing Minister Grant Shapps, who has just scrapped housebuilding targets, urging the government to honour its spending commitments on new home schemes.

In the letter NHF's chief executive David Orr wrote: "The building of affordable homes could potentially grind to a halt this year - with all housebuilding, including private developer construction, falling off a cliff."
The federation believe that the cuts could have a "catastrophic impact" on housebuilding.

Around 150 social housing projects are now under threat, along with thousands more planned new build home schemes nationwide.

The government needs to rethink its housing policies, or face a potential backlash from prospective first-time buyers priced out of the property market because of greater price growth, fuelled by a bigger shortage of homes.