The government has launched a new strategy in response to the growing housing crisis.
The new homes plan, which was announced by the coalition government on 21 November, includes a variety of proposals to address the problems currently facing the housing sector. These include:
* delivering a £400million ‘Get Britain Building’ fund to kick-start development on sites where building has been approved but stalled
* supporting a mortgage guarantee scheme to underwrite mortgages on new-build homes for first time buyers; this could mean that first-time buyers will be able to borrow up to 95 per cent of the property value – with the government underwriting part of the risk
* offering social housing tenants the opportunity to buy their properties for as little as half the market value, by extending discounts available on the ‘right-to-buy’ scheme
* refurbishing empty homes, particularly in deprived areas
* making more public sector land available for building
* holding an independent review to look at increasing investment into private rented homes
* consulting on plans to make higher earning tenants ‘pay to stay’ in social housing.
In response to the proposals, Campbell Robb, chief executive of the housing and homelessness charity Shelter, said: "Whilst we welcome the government’s commitment to tackle our housing crisis, today’s announcement falls far short of the quarter of a million new homes we need each year just to meet demand.
"We are concerned that schemes to help first-time buyers and council tenants will simply encourage people to overextend themselves, while doing nothing to address the sky-high cost of housing.
"This strategy also does almost nothing to help the growing number of families living in insecure private rented housing with hardly any protection from rogue landlords or unexpected rises in rent. Unfortunately these aren’t the bold and radical solutions we need to solve a housing crisis that’s been decades in the making", he concluded.