Last Friday Shelter launched its campaign calling on the government to take steps to protect and boost the supply of affordable homes in the upcoming Budget and Spending Review. Since then, nearly 6,000 people have written a letter to the Chancellor asking for action.
And today, leading business voices from across the UK have written to the Daily Telegraph to echo our call.
They all share a concern at the desperate shortage of affordable homes that have built up over successive governments – and a belief that government shares a responsibility to invest in providing these homes, like any other infrastructure. In the letter, they make it clear that the lack of affordable homes has now reached such a critical point that it is severely impacting on their ability to recruit and compete in the world, as their employees and potential employees struggle to find somewhere they can afford to live.
The signatories include some of the most influential bodies from across the business world: FTSE100 company Legal &General; the British Chamber of Commerce, who represent 92,000 businesses across the UK; KPMG, one of the big 4 accountancy firms; Manpower, a Fortune 500 company and one of the biggest recruitment agencies in the country, as well as the London Chamber of Commerce and Business West, based in Bristol, both worried about the impact the shortage is having on their cities.
You can read the letter in full here (‘No homes for workers’) and below.
It is one of the striking things how broad the coalition of voices calling for action on this area has become in recent years. Among civil society – from charities and Think Tanks of all persuasion, to business groups and FTSE100 companies – as well as among the public, of course, for who housing is now a top 4 issue.
On which note, it’s worth having a look at some recent polling conducted by Icaro for us. It shows we have the support of perhaps the most important constituency of all: the electorate. Investment in affordable housing beats off any other infrastructure project as a priority for the public. The public know money is tight, but they overwhelmingly prefer money spent on affordable homes than other areas.
Politicians of all stripes responded to public anxiety in the election by promising to make housing a priority if they won, including the Conservatives. It’s now incumbent on them to show they meant it in the decisions they make in the next six months.
You can join Shelter’s campaign here.