Why the UK isn’t Spain…

Sure, sure we’re not as good at football or sunny weather as our Iberian neighbours. Here, I’ll argue that our property markets are pretty different too, and that the Spanish example of a devastating property meltdown, partly precipitated by over-building, shouldn’t put us off building more badly needed homes in this country.

We need more homes. That’s not a totally straightforward statement – yes there are some empty homes that could be better used, and no, more homes alone … Read more

Back to school: the new political season

September – chillier, windier, busier – is traditionally a time for a refresh. Having had the summer to reflect on how things have gone, our politicians traditionally use the return to Parliament to set out a rejuvenated course for the coming months. Summer 2012 was exceptional in every sense, and the Prime Minister used the moment to really shake up his ministerial teams.

It’s all change for housing policy. Our new team of ministers have been in post for a … 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

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
What homes where?

Getting homes built is a tricky business. The new National Planning Policy Framework encourages local based planning (rather than top down regional spatial strategies) and more local community engagement on plans and holding councils to account. A big concern is how to deal with local opposition to any new development plans. That’s a lot for local councils to take on at a time of severe cuts to their budgets, along with imminent decisions on who gets affordable housing and for … Read more

Appetite for construction

I blogged recently about the need for ambitious ideas to tackle our housing shortage and the IPPR has duly obliged, today publishing a comprehensive analysis of British housing policy. Our excellent guest blogger – Matt Griffith – gives his take on the new report.

Matt Griffith is a campaigner for PricedOut.   

Good news, housing is getting some serious attention. The, not so subtle, question being ‘how the hell do we get out of this mess?’

It’s a question that … Read more

A time for ambitious thinking?

As a new joiner to Shelter’s policy team I’ve already been introduced to some interesting ideas about how we can make housing more affordable, better quality and get a better deal for the growing numbers of private tenants. The policy team is not short of solutions to the many failings of our housing market – as the many postings on this blog prove.

I’ve recently moved across from a political office, which included working on some manifesto ideas for London’s … Read more

Guest blog: Ipsos MORI and RIBA report - It’s not all about quantity
Guest blog: Ipsos MORI and RIBA report - It’s not all about quantity

Long before working at Shelter, I had a bugbear about balconies. Yep, balconies. In my first few flats there was no little patch to grow plants, hang the washing up or just sit in the sun with a drink. That may sound petty, but whenever I see a new block of flats going up with measly little windows and no access to outside space, I want to scream.

Ben Marshall is Research Director at Ipsos MORI.

We can all think … Read more

Tough challenges for the next Mayor of London

As officials count the votes from London’s mayoral election, reports suggest that it’s simply too close to call, and we don’t know yet who will be celebrating (or commiserating) over the Bank Holiday weekend.

But whoever London’s next Mayor is, they will have to sober up to the realities facing the capital, in particular those around housing.

We’ve heard some big pledges from the candidates. All of them backed Shelter’s campaign, stating that they’ll create Homes for London, … Read more

Guest blog: Ben Page reflects on housing as an electoral issue

There are local and mayoral elections across the United Kingdom today, so we are delighted to have a timely guest blog from the esteemed pollster Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI, writing about the challenges and paradoxes of housing as a personal and political issue. Over the coming weeks we’ll be reflecting on how housing has faired in the elections where Shelter has been seeking to get housing on the political agenda. But for now, over to … Read more

New ideas to fix London's housing

Much celebration here at Shelter HQ, as both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson have now backed our Mayoral election campaign and pledged to create Homes for London.

As the race enters its last week it is clearly a Ken-Boris contest, so it’s easy to ignore the other candidates, which is a shame, as they have done a lot to finally get housing onto the agenda. Both the Greens’ Jenny Jones and the Lib Dems’ Brian Paddick have backed Homes … Read more

Big houses and baby boomers

Baby boomers have had a bit of an image problem lately. The ‘boomer’ generation born in the post-war period is (by and large) prospering after a prolonged period of economic growth (data geeks might want to refer to this (£) fascinating graph by the FT).

Younger generations, meanwhile, are increasingly fed up: fewer good jobs and pensions, and an unaffordable housing market that holds them back.*

It’s almost universally acknowledged that soaring house prices played a major role … Read more