Housing market 'is not being fixed'
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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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Housing market 'is not being fixed' [Online] (Updated 17th May 2012)
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A village museum in East Sussex will go up against Tate Britain and the new £35m Mary Rose Museum in a contest to be named the UK's museum of the year.
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone made his first appearance in a Munich court on Thursday, accused of giving a £27.5m ($45m, 33m euros) bribe to a German banker.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Barclays agreed to a $280m (£167m) settlement with the US Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA).