Guest blog: Mid-term (tenure) blues

We’re always fascinated to see how the kind of housing people have relates to their voting intentions. It’s great to have Ben Marshall, from the pollsters Ipsos MORI, blogging here on their latest analysis.

One stat really jumps out for me: that 62% of renters voted for coalition parties in 2010, but only 37% would now. Not surprising then that Ed Miliband announced a suite of policies for private renters on Saturday. If ever there was a reason for … 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

Right to Buy: has its moment passed?

Was the Right to Buy the most politically savvy housing policy in recent decades? It tapped into the public mood – shifting towards aspiration – and allowed a substantial number of low and middle income households to realise that aspiration very quickly by offering substantial discounts when they bought their home.

In just five years, more than a million people bought their council houses, my grandparents among them.

Whether or not you agree with the policy of selling off council … Read more

Clegg's on the right track, but what will make garden cities work?

Nick Clegg’s speech to the National House-Builders Council (NHBC) today sends the strongest signal yet that Government are beginning to take the challenge of our housing crisis seriously.

September’s growth ‘package’ was a step forward, but the proposed numbers of new homes were not sufficient. Today, Mr Clegg acknowledges the scale of home building needed, talking in hundreds – rather than tens – of thousands.

The notion of garden cities seems to be playing well. I can see why – … Read more

Labour: getting noisier on housing

It’s now five years since I first attended party conferences for my job, and I’ve noted some quite different atmospheres over the years.

The 2009 party conferences were the most striking: the quietly confident Conservative conference where champagne was strictly off limits, Labour’s failed coups and sense of impending downfall, and the pre-Cleggmania stoicism at Lib Dems. All this with the backdrop of the MPs’ expense scandal rumbling on.

Fast forward to 2012 and it’s quite a different … Read more

We need to talk solutions as well as problems with renting

We’ve had a warm reaction to our proposals for better renting over the last week. It’s a real testament to policy makers’ and the industry’s acknowledgement of the world we live in – one in which millions of people on ordinary incomes cannot get the stability from their home that they need to plan for the future.

There is now increasing agreement that something must be done – that the political, social and economic consequences of leaving so many people … Read more

Our proposal: a better deal for renters

It’s not news to readers of this blog that we’re concerned about how private renting is working for people with no other options open to them.

Some 8.5 million people now rent from a private landlord – more than live in social housing. People on average incomes who would have been able to buy a home a decade ago will take a lot longer to realise that aspiration.

Over the last year we’ve looked at how renting is working – … 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

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
Even baby boomers worry about house prices

The Shelter policy team has been lucky to have Mike Smith volunteering with us over the summer. Mike had a long career in finance before looking to move into a policy role, so we’ve benefited enormously from his perspective.

As news reports today show that house prices have risen at three times the rate of inflation over the last decade, Mike reflects on how his generation has benefited…but suggests that perceptions may be changing.

‘Having turned fifty a year or … Read more

Action for renters?

I like the idea of people power – people on their own or coming together to resolve issues in the market. It’s something we hear a lot of at Shelter – we get sent lots of suggestions to help tenants make educated choices, such as tenant training and tripadvisor-style websites.

But until recently, examples of real hands-on private renters campaigning were few and far between, save for the likes of longstanding groups in Brent, Camden, Scarborough and BlackpoolRead more

To buy or not buy?

What with me leading Shelter’s policy work on the future of the private rented sector, it was a surprise to my colleagues when I told them I was buying a flat. ‘That’s it, you’re out of the private rented sector!’ was Toby’s response.

The thing is, I am fed up with renting. I hate the magnolia walls in my flat, the worn laminate floors, the slope in the kitchen that means the cooker is wonky and one side of … Read more