Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Can we afford not to build affordable housing

In the previous twenty five years we have lost one million council houses, this through the right to buy scheme.

Housing policy in this country is about home ownership, with limited affordable housing through section 106 legal agreements, usually too few, these are then transferred to housing association, either for rent or shared equity schemes.

We have seen growth in home ownership, we have seen growth in the buy to let schemes, we have seen ridiculous lending from the financial sector.

Then we had the financial crash, with the ridiculous situation of the British tax payer bailing out of banks that had toxic debt that had been accrued from the sub prime American housing market.

Our government would not build council houses for low paid workers, but in effect would pay for boarded up properties in America.

It is the time for this government to act.

Banks are, for the foreseeable future not going to borrow money to fund unsustainable mortgages, nor should they.

The current situation is not sustainable, providing affordable housing through section 106 cannot deliver the numbers of homes required.

In our district there is a social housing backlog of 1363 properties.

The average income for our district is £17,566 with the average for housing is £211,725 this equates to 12 times salary.

This leaves a situation of higher than average house prices combined with below average income, and a major shortfall in social housing, it is no surprise that waiting lists are growing for affordable housing, this situation is getting worse.

It is clear home ownership is a major aspiration for people, but this increasingly is out of reach for many, affordable rented housing is crucial for people to live in their own communities. Alan Brunt, from Mendip Housing spoke to the local paper about his concerns. http:www.yeovilexpress.co.uk/news/4703980.National_Housing_Federation_survey_reveals_problems_for_house_buying_families/

So the question is, can we afford not to invest in socially affordable rented housing?

I think not!

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