House of Lords calls for 300,000 new homes each year

A report out this morning by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has lambasted the Government over its housing policies.

It says that the Government must lift its housing target by 50% and build 300,000 homes each year.

It also calls for many more new council houses to be built.

It says that both local authorities and housing associations should be freed to “build substantial numbers of homes for rent and for sale”.

It criticises the Government for “creating uncertainty in the already dysfunctional housing market”, citing frequent changes to tax rules and subsidies for house purchases, reductions in social rent, and the extension of Right to Buy to social tenants.

The Government also comes under fire for its “narrow focus on home ownership”, neglecting those who rent their homes, and the report criticises the Government’s clampdown on the buy-to-let sector.

The committee says that council tax should be charged on developments that are not completed within a set time period.

Lord Hollick, chairman of the committee, said: “We are facing an acute housing crisis with home ownership – and increasingly renting – being simply unaffordable for a great many people.

“The only way to address this is to increase supply. The country needs to build 300,000 homes a year for the foreseeable future.

“The private sector alone cannot deliver that. It has neither the ability nor motivation to do so. We need local government and housing associations to get back into the business of building.

“Local authorities are keen to meet this challenge but they do not have the funds or the ability to borrow to embark on a major programme to build new social homes. It makes no sense that a local authority is free to borrow to build a swimming pool but cannot do the same to build homes.

“The Government are too focused on home ownership which will never be achievable for a great many people and in some areas it will be out of reach even for those on average incomes. Government policy to tackle the crisis must be broadened out to help people who would benefit from good quality, secure rented homes.

“It is very concerning that changes to Stamp Duty for landlords and cuts to social rent could reduce the availability of homes for rent. The long-term trend away from subsidising tenancies to subsidising home buyers hits the poorest hardest and should be reversed.

“If the housing crisis is to be tackled, the Government must allow local authorities to borrow to build and accelerate building on surplus public land.”

Written by: Houseladder