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Housing market 'is not being fixed'

Category: Business

Published: 17th May 2012 03:45:32

Ministers are not doing enough to fix a "burgeoning housing crisis", housing groups have said.

The National Housing Federation, Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing said more work was needed on the cost and supply of housing and dealing with overcrowding.

Official figures later on Thursday will show how many houses were built in the first three months of 2012.

The government said it had "made real progress" but had "a long way to go".

"Far from rents rising, we have seen a real terms fall in private rents and I want to see councils using the powers that they already have to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords," said housing minister Grant Shapps.

"I'm sure these housing organisations will welcome our Affordable Homes Programme which is set to exceed expectations and deliver up to 170,000 affordable homes, and a £1.3bn investment to get Britain building."

Building new homes will help fix our broken housing market and, with rising unemployment and living costs, spur economic growth by creating jobs and supporting small businesses”

But a report from the housing groups said that the government had to make good on its promise to get Britain building.

"This government has had two years to start delivering on housing, yet this report paints a pretty bleak picture of its current record on housing in all its forms, said Kay Boycott from the charity Shelter.

"We must now see progress made on the commitments outlined in November's Housing Strategy and bolder action taken to make sure families across the country can find a decent place to call home."

The report said that there had been a small increase in the overall number of new homes being built, but that it was still at historically low levels. It attributed a fall in new affordable homes being built to a drop-off ahead of the launch of the government's Affordable Homes Programme.

There were 109,020 new homes completed in England last year, which was up from 103,300 in 2010, but below the average of 142,000 for the previous decade.

The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit said in 2008 that 240,000 new homes should be being built in England per year by 2016.

"Building new homes will help fix our broken housing market and, with rising unemployment and living costs, spur economic growth by creating jobs and supporting small businesses," said David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation.

"It's a win/win for the taxpayer and for the millions stuck on waiting lists."

The report said that homelessness was getting worse and warned that cuts to Housing Benefit in 2013 could exacerbate the problem.

It used a traffic light system to rate whether 10 housing problems were improving or deteriorating.

Three of them had changed colour since the last report in October 2011.

The evictions, repossessions and arrears category went from amber to green, with the report saying that low interest rates meant the numbers were moving in the right direction. But it warned that changes in interest rates or lenders' attitudes could change that.

Mobility went from green to amber, with the report saying that government policy was having little effect.

On overcrowding, October's report did not give a rating as it was waiting for data to be published. The latest report has given a red light for overcrowding, saying that the problem was getting worse.

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BBC News, 2012. Housing market 'is not being fixed' [Online] (Updated 17th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1429086/Housing-market-is-not-being-fixed [Accessed 23rd Jul 2014]

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