Housing: the real big squeeze

The Shelter campaign that seems to have stuck in people’s minds the most in recent years was the one setting out what the cost of household goods would be if their prices had gone up at the same rate as house prices.

I most recently heard it mentioned by Planning Minister Nick Boles when he launched another new planning policy to encourage development.

We’ve re-run the analysis – a whole chicken would now cost £51.18, and the average weekly Read more

Is cash for communities enough to tackle NIMBYs?

It was with some gusto that Planning Minister Nick Boles launched the latest Government planning policy to incentivise new house building on Newsnight yesterday evening.

Agreeing with Shelter’s research findings that a key barrier in the planning system is often local opposition to new homes being built, Boles proposed that a proportion of money raised from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) when new developments are approved would go directly to local community groups to spend on infrastructure.

In practice this … Read more

Let Boles be bold

While most of the policy universe was busy speculating on the contents of the Leveson report this morning, new Planning Minister Nick Boles was waxing lyrical to the TCPA conference on the value of beauty. He made a robust call for beautiful homes in well designed places, in line with the tradition of medieval villages, Edinburgh’s New Town, and Letchworth Garden City – and repeated the assertion made on Newsnight the night before that too many new builds are ‘pig … Read more

Time to talk legacy?

There’s bound to be some stiff competition to get into Private Eye’s Olympicballs column this week – but let’s give it a go….

It’s still unfashionable to be sceptical about the likelihood of a legacy for the games, but let’s not forget that the original vision behind London’s bid for the Olympics was about regenerating a huge swathe of the ex-industrial east end, and providing tonnes of new homes in shiny new neighbourhoods.

So as the celebrations finish and … Read more

Waiting too long for a stable home

It’s a sad reality that in Britain we get used to putting up with the impact the high cost of housing has on our lives.

We accept having to spend an hour getting to and from work every day as we can’t afford to live any closer to our jobs. We think of the family homes we grew up in with nostalgia rather than aspiration, accepting we are unlikely to live anywhere similar. We pay half our salaries to keep … Read more

Build-to-let: just the tonic?

Over the last few months the Government has begun to take quite seriously some of the realities of England’s housing crisis that we have been banging on about for years:

We simply don’t have enough homes – we desperately need to build more. More and more people are renting privately for the long term – not through some fleeting lifestyle choice, but because buying a home is just too expensive. Building homes is good for the economy and for creating… Read more
Social housing: foundation or springboard?

Today, Shelter is publishing information and evidence to assist local councils as they begin to compile their ‘Tenancy Strategies’ in the run up to the January 2013 deadline.

These strategies, required by the Localism Act 2011, need to set out how councils intend to respond to housing need, and specifically how they would like new social tenancies, such as those offered by housing associations, to operate in their area

Back in February, I spent an inspiring day with the … Read more

We must spend less on housing

The news has been worryingly free of house price stories of late, forcing some papers to fill pages with minor distractions like the Olympics, Leveson and the great summer weather.

Thankfully the IMF has come to the rescue of editors everywhere, with its annual report on the UK economy suggesting that house prices still need to fall by 10-15% now-ish – and by up to 30% to get back to trend.

Inevitably, the response from some quarters will be for … Read more

Top tips for spotting stats porkies

On the Today programme yesterday morning, Housing Minister Grant Shapps was questioned about his claim that there has been a ‘dramatic increase in affordable homes’. Shelter pointed out that in fact the number of new affordable homes being started has fallen by 68% since the previous year – from around 50,000 to around 16,000.*

So how do you know who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to stats? As the debate about the number of new affordable homes being … Read more