Low expectations and little chance of winning – private renters need more support
Low expectations and little chance of winning – private renters need more support

Renters have been through too many years of hurt, it’s time things changed. Our new research shows private renters are having to spend a massive £41bn in rents per year.

For context, this is four times the amount the government spends on affordable housing.

And (since we’re all obviously in the midst of World Cup fever) this could even buy the England squad in about a week – or the Brazil squad in a little over that if you prefer.… Read more

No, lower land prices aren’t something to worry about
No, lower land prices aren’t something to worry about

Lowering the cost of land is a holy grail in trying to fix our housing crisis. Why? Because the high land prices that we see in our current speculative development system directly lead to less affordable housing, slow build-out and poor quality.

Recently, the Sunday Telegraph covered this issue with an article about a possible land price cap being introduced in the updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). What the Sunday Telegraph talks about isn’t a land price cap as … Read more

Time to build on cross party support to end viability loophole and make housebuilding popular again

We’ve been talking about the viability loophole for a while now, but our new research has shone a light on just how much of a problem it is. Last week, we revealed England is losing thousands of potential affordable homes each year through this loophole in the planning rules.

Happily, both major political parties are already committed to ending the use and abuse of this loophole.

Shelter isn’t alone on this. Local councils and communities across the country are … Read more

Hundreds of affordable homes have been lost in Kensington and Chelsea: it’s time to shut the door on abuse of the viability process

Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower the challenge of finding new homes for survivors has been thrown into the spotlight. A challenge that is exacerbated by the simple fact that in Kensington and Chelsea, as in areas across the country, there exists a huge shortage of affordable homes.

One reason for this is something regular readers of our blog will recognise: viability assessments.

Today we’ve released some new stats showing just how startling the problem in Kensington and Chelsea actually … Read more

A consensus is emerging on land value capture: What we need now is political action

£87 billion could be unlocked for infrastructure and housebuilding. That’s the core of an article in yesterday’s Financial Times (FT) calling for major reforms to the land market – reforms we at Shelter have long been calling for.

This number is also of no surprise to us because we know that land value capture offers huge potential for unlocking investment. Indeed, we’ve worked closely with the Centre for Progressive Capitalism, which identified that number, to make sure we get it … Read more

The Mayor is giving us a new window into viability but we still need action at all levels

Last week, through the case of Hornsey Town Hall, we highlighted once again how a lack of transparency for viability assessments is contributing to the loss of affordable homes across England.

In London, however, the Mayor is listening and progress is being made in the form of a new piece of supplementary planning guidance (SPG).

This guidance – Homes for Londoners Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance 2017 – seeks to increase transparency around viability and increase the … Read more

Viability and transparency – unless we [REDACTED] how can we expect [REDACTED] to trust [REDACTED]

Regular readers of our blog – or followers of our work on housing supply – will have repeatedly heard our calls for increased transparency within housebuilding. One particular area where this is vital is when it comes to the murky world of viability assessments.

These assessments are used to reduce the affordable housing provision and other community contributions that a developer has to make on a scheme.

Recently we saw (and wrote about) a particularly egregious example of this in … Read more

Phantom Homes – where are the homes we need going?

It’s now an accepted fact that our housebuilding market is broken. It quite simply isn’t working for ordinary people, and this is clearest in it’s failure to build homes to the scale that we currently need.

Often we hear major developers saying that a key reason behind this is that the planning system is too complicated, too convoluted, and just not fit for purpose. This also offers a simple answer – if the planning system is broken then we need … Read more

Queen’s Speech 2017 – time to get our skates on when it comes to housing

Yesterday saw a thoroughly unusual State Opening of Parliament. Gone was the Queen’s traditional regalia and in was an informal (at least in relation to usual), parred down and thoroughly speedy affair.

One thing that never changes though is the ability of veteran Labour MP Denis Skinner to provide an unscripted piece of commentary – this year suggesting that it’s time to get the skates on, after all the Queen needed to be at Ascot for the first race.

Although … Read more

The election is over, the country has decided – what comes next for housing and homelessness

Yesterday Alok Sharma MP was announced as the latest Minister for Housing and Planning. Here at Shelter we congratulate him on his appointment to, arguably, one of the best briefs in government.

Tackling the housing crisis must be top of the list for the Housing Minister and his team and is one area with clear cross-party support. For generations now we have had an undersupply of new homes, particularly affordable homes, and it is leaving millions facing soaring private rents … Read more

Compulsory purchase and council homes – a new direction for housing policy?

In the last few months an exciting shift has taken place in in the debate about housing, one underlined by this weekend’s commitments to new council house building and to reform of compulsory purchase order (CPO) legislation.

This announcement is a genuine break from the previous government’s reliance on private developers to deliver the homes that we need. It also demonstrates clearly that patience with the big developers is running thin – and the expectation that they will deliver has … Read more

Growing support for housebuilding opens the door for the government to take real action

It is still generally accepted that new housing developments suffer opposition from NIMBYs. As such NIMBYism is commonly seen to be one of the main blockages to the building of more homes in England; an insurmountable obstacle in the eyes of some commentators because it prevents politicians from taking action out of fear of ballot box reprisal.

However, the data on this simply doesn’t back the assumption up. A report released last week by the National Housing Federation (Demise Read more