Six take aways from our polling in marginal seats
Six take aways from our polling in marginal seats

With party conference season in full swing, we have today published the results of some polling with marginal voters. Conducted for us by respected pollster Matt Singh of Number Cruncher Politics (NCP), and covered by The Sun this morning, to our knowledge this is the first such public poll of voters in swing seats in a while.

Matt’s take is here.

First, a quick note on methodology: it’s an online poll across 60 Conservative or Labour held seats … Read more

Mind the gap: why do we still have distance between housing rhetoric and reality?
Mind the gap: why do we still have distance between housing rhetoric and reality?

If we measured progress by press releases, these would be heady days for the housing sector. Every other week for the past few years has brought with it a string of announcements from the top of government aimed at tackling the housing crisis and the shortage of homes.

Many of the changes won have been genuine and important. Letting fees banned; the affordable housing budget trebled since 2011; borrowing caps raised; all homes to be made fit for human habitation; … Read more

A fork in the road: the Letwin review

In the pantheon of sexy retail offers, the promise of an internal government review does not, you might argue, necessarily set the pulse racing. So when a review of land banking was announced in the Autumn Budget, it wasn’t rewarded with huge media attention. Some world-weary cynics (not me, you understand) even wondered if it was just a way to kick the issue into the long grass.

But there’s every reason to pay attention to the review (which will … Read more

No shortcuts available: the Conservatives and a housing offer for young people

With party conference season on the horizon, there is a renewed chatter of a big housing ‘offer’ for young people from the Conservatives. This stems from a concern, reinvigorated by the general election, about what the decline of home ownership and rise of expensive private renting is doing to the party’s electoral fortunes.

So what are the options open to the government? So far rumours seem to be rumbling among journalists that Help to Buy – the scheme which providers … Read more

Housing and the 2017 election: what the numbers say

As the dust settles on the general elections results, attention has turned to trying to understand some of the demographic trends behind the results.

At Shelter, we’ve long had our eye on trends in housing tenure and how these might shape political outcomes. For context, mortgaged home ownership in England has fallen from 42% to 29% since 2000, while private renting has doubled in that time (to 20%).

We will publish more data as it becomes available in the coming … Read more

Shelter’s general election call: help for the growing army of hard pressed private renters

Today Shelter has launched our campaign calling on the new government to deliver 500,000 homes in the next Parliament at ‘living rents’, a concept that has growing cross-party and cross-sector support.

There is coverage in The Sun and The Guardian, among others. Our short briefing is here, which we will be following up with a fuller investigation and report later in the year.

Why are we calling for this?

In part we’re trying to raise the alarm about … Read more

The White Paper: a step, rather than a leap, in the right direction

We’ve finally had the chance to have a look at the government’s long awaited housing White Paper, covering housebuilding and private renting. Below is some important context and our thoughts on the mix of proposals.

Why don’t we build enough homes? In order to judge the White Paper properly, it’s important to understand the reasons behind the under-supply of new homes. The fundamental reason is simple: private housebuilding is overly dependent on a handful of big developers whose very … Read more

Autumn Statement 2016: what is needed to help the 'just about managing’ classes?

We are now a little under a month away from the Autumn Statement 2016, the first of Theresa May’s government.

Though these set pieces –  ‘fiscal events’ as civil servants term them – can feel a little overblown, they do really matter.

Firstly of course because public investment, while not the be all and end all, remains an important part of solving the housing crisis, especially when it comes to homelessness and affordability issues*. But secondly, and more importantly, because … Read more

The future of social housing – take aways from our recent roundtable

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, delivered the RSA’s annual lecture last week. A former Head of Policy at No 10, Taylor looked at the issue of ‘why policy fails and how it might succeed’. In it he examined the fate of major policy innovations across recent history; those that have stood the test of time (like the Minimum Wage, Scottish devolution and the smoking ban) and those that have withered (he cites the Child Trust fund, the poll … Read more

The problems for the Housing and Planning Bill are really just beginning...

The Housing and Planning Bill completes its passage into law today.

The Bill first emerged in October last year. Eight months, forty odd parliamentary sessions, sixteen million pieces of data, almost as many government defeats in the Lords, three sessions of ‘Ping Pong’, one use of the phrase ‘unelected panjandrams’ and a mini-constitutional crisis later, the Bill finally limps over the line to receive Royal Assent this afternoon.

As the dust settles, what is the story of the Bill and … Read more

Three practical amendments Shelter is fighting for on the Housing Bill

The Housing and Planning Bill returns to the House of Lords for Report stage today. This is the stage at which crucial votes are won or lost by the government. There’s five Report days between now and the end of April, covering the wide range of issues in the Bill.

Since October Shelter and our supporters have been working tirelessly with government and Parliamentarians to try and influence this Bill. There are some positive aspects of the Bill – on … Read more

Alternative ideas for funding the Right to Buy: some ways out for the government on the Housing Bill

There’s not much doubt about it, the government are having a bit of a nightmare when it comes to the Housing Bill, and specifically the forced sale of council homes.

A quick recap for the uninitiated: this is not the Right to Buy, but rather George Osborne’s way of funding Right to Buy discounts for Housing Association tenants. Councils in ‘high value’ areas will be required to auction off a certain number of their council homes to the highest bidder … Read more