New viability rules: fair, limited, transparent?
New viability rules: fair, limited, transparent?

On Monday, Theresa May’s government announced a shake-up of planning rules, including a new version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The aim is to get more homes built, as pretty much everyone now accepts that this is the best way to tackle the housing crisis.

Over the coming weeks, we will go through all these proposed planning changes with a fine-toothed comb to work out just what they mean for the supply of genuinely affordable homes. But for … Read more

Villages are unviable without affordable homes
Villages are unviable without affordable homes

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is known for sticking up for the countryside and rural communities, while Shelter is known for campaigning to end bad housing and homelessness. These are not two charities you might automatically pair together. However, both organisations have a long history of campaigning to ensure that the needs of communities are met, first and foremost, when housing developments are planned and delivered – countrywide, in Shelter’s case, and in rural areas, in CPRE’s. And … Read more

Ingredients for a public housebuilding revolution
Ingredients for a public housebuilding revolution

A year ago today we launched New Civic Housebuilding, setting out our vision for reviving England’s tradition of building attractive, affordable homes. With the newly rebranded Ministry of Housing and its agency, Homes England, talking up their role in transforming house building, and the new National Planning Policy Framework due next week, this feels like a good moment to assess progress.

The need for public housebuilding

The government commitment to building a lot more homes is an essential first … Read more

Local viability policy part 1: ‘We are pushing the system as hard as we can, but it’s a rigged system.’

Those are the words of Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, describing his city’s battle against the viability loophole. In 2017, we showed how viability assessments are depriving local communities of the homes they need – with 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year across just eleven councils.

http://blog.shelter.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/OBR-2048_NCH_Viability_animation-FINAL.mp4

 

Since then, the idea that developers need to cut affordable homes from schemes to make them profitable has become even less credible. The top developers … Read more

We need to lower the cost of land to true market prices

After many decades of political obscurity, reforming the way that land is bought, sold and owned is back on the agenda. It’s about time too: the dysfunctional land market is at the heart of our broken housing market – and underpins the total failure to build enough high quality homes that people can actually afford. One thing we’re hoping for in next week’s budget is a sign that Downing Street is ready to overcome bureaucratic opposition to real reform.

Unrealistic Read more
The high cost of viability assessments: 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year

Over the last year, we’ve blogged many times about viability assessments, their role in cutting affordable homes, and the lack of transparency around how developers use them.

New research from Shelter shines a light on just how much damage this legal loophole is doing. Eleven councils covering nine English cities lost 2,500 affordable homes in just one year on schemes where developers used viability assessments. That’s equivalent to a 79% cut in desperately needed affordable homes to … Read more

Fair rent homes? Our long-term mission to transform renting

As you know, we’re currently campaigning hard to lift the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a type of housing benefit given to 1.2m private tenants who need help paying their rent. But since the government froze LHA in 2015, rents have risen and people are being forced into homelessness as the burden of their rent becomes too much.

If we don’t act now, one million households could be at risk of homelessness by 2020.… Read more

Why are Grenfell survivors still living in hotels? The curious case of 100 West Cromwell Road

It’s now more than two months on from the Grenfell Tower fire, and many of those who survived this terrible event are still living in hotels, traumatised and without the basic comforts of home. Many survivors need time to grieve and recover before they can start to think about a permanent new place to live. But there’s no doubt that Kensington and Chelsea Council’s progress on identifying suitable accommodation, both temporary and permanent, has been far too slow for survivors.… Read more

Facing up to defeat: why was social housing an easy target?

Housing campaigners need to acknowledge the uncomfortable quandary about the passing of the Housing and Planning Act. As we pointed out last week, despite near unprecedented concern in the Lords, the government ultimately felt comfortable enough to stand firm with its vision for social housing. It is a notable show of resolve in a year that has seen U-turns on everything from tax credits through academies to the Human Rights Act.

I think an anecdote from the start of … Read more

A tax on both your (privately rented) houses

Wednesday’s budget furrowed many a brow at Shelter. The Chancellor singled out housing support for substantial cuts. A lot of the people who come to Shelter for help are about to find themselves worse off – and our job just got tougher.

However, amidst this frustration there were some sensible tax reforms that deserve an honourable mention.

1. Raise the Roof

The Budget raised the tax-free threshold for the rent-a-room scheme.

This scheme was introduced in 1992 to offer … Read more

A rent cap in name only

This blog was originally published as part of #BeyondtheBallot the Huffington Post UK’s alternative take on the UK General Election 2015. Visit the website to see the original post and join the debate.

A year ago to the day, Ed Miliband announced that a future Labour Government will legislate to make long-term tenancies the legal default. After calling for stable renting since 2012, Shelter welcomed this turning point.

On Sunday, this was repackaged a ‘cap on rents’.

Cue hysteria. … Read more

37 days to win the election; 100 days to make it count

Yesterday, the General Election 2015 officially launched.

Over the next 37 days we can expect plenty of bold statements, lots of partisan accusations and endless footage of battle buses and rolled-up sleeves. The fight to win over the UK’s 42 million voters is well and truly on.

If politicians are clever, they’ll talk about fixing our housing crisis. Voters in the marginal seats – those key seats that will decide the outcome of the general election – are more likely … Read more