Here at Shelter, we’re all for getting more affordable homes built. It’s the only long-term, permanent fix to our housing and homelessness crisis. But in recent years, it hasn’t always felt like the planning system is on our side. Rules like the viability loophole have made it harder to get the affordable homes communities really need coming through the planning system. But there is one great, unsung hero of the planning system that has been steadily chipping away at the … Read more
We were promised that the chancellor’s Spring Statement today would be boring – and he didn’t disappoint.
As all the big news will be in the Autumn Budget, observers only have some relatively minor details to comment on – but there’s always something of interest in the details, and some of the details this time suggest the end of the long winter of the housing shortage may finally be in sight.
Firstly, it’s great that tackling the housing crisis is … Read more
On Monday, Theresa May’s government announced a shake-up of planning rules, including a new version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The aim is to get more homes built, as pretty much everyone now accepts that this is the best way to tackle the housing crisis.
Over the coming weeks, we will go through all these proposed planning changes with a fine-toothed comb to work out just what they mean for the supply of genuinely affordable homes. But for … Read more
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is known for sticking up for the countryside and rural communities, while Shelter is known for campaigning to end bad housing and homelessness. These are not two charities you might automatically pair together. However, both organisations have a long history of campaigning to ensure that the needs of communities are met, first and foremost, when housing developments are planned and delivered – countrywide, in Shelter’s case, and in rural areas, in CPRE’s. And … Read more
A year ago today we launched New Civic Housebuilding, setting out our vision for reviving England’s tradition of building attractive, affordable homes. With the newly rebranded Ministry of Housing and its agency, Homes England, talking up their role in transforming house building, and the new National Planning Policy Framework due next week, this feels like a good moment to assess progress.The need for public housebuilding
The government commitment to building a lot more homes is an essential first … Read more
Those are the words of Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, describing his city’s battle against the viability loophole. In 2017, we showed how viability assessments are depriving local communities of the homes they need – with 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year across just eleven councils.http://blog.shelter.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/OBR-2048_NCH_Viability_animation-FINAL.mp4
Since then, the idea that developers need to cut affordable homes from schemes to make them profitable has become even less credible. The top developers … Read more
After many decades of political obscurity, reforming the way that land is bought, sold and owned is back on the agenda. It’s about time too: the dysfunctional land market is at the heart of our broken housing market – and underpins the total failure to build enough high quality homes that people can actually afford. One thing we’re hoping for in next week’s budget is a sign that Downing Street is ready to overcome bureaucratic opposition to real reform.Unrealistic … Read more
Over the last year, we’ve blogged many times about viability assessments, their role in cutting affordable homes, and the lack of transparency around how developers use them.
New research from Shelter shines a light on just how much damage this legal loophole is doing. Eleven councils covering nine English cities lost 2,500 affordable homes in just one year on schemes where developers used viability assessments. That’s equivalent to a 79% cut in desperately needed affordable homes to … Read more
As you know, we’re currently campaigning hard to lift the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a type of housing benefit given to 1.2m private tenants who need help paying their rent. But since the government froze LHA in 2015, rents have risen and people are being forced into homelessness as the burden of their rent becomes too much.
If we don’t act now, one million households could be at risk of homelessness by 2020.… Read more
It’s now more than two months on from the Grenfell Tower fire, and many of those who survived this terrible event are still living in hotels, traumatised and without the basic comforts of home. Many survivors need time to grieve and recover before they can start to think about a permanent new place to live. But there’s no doubt that Kensington and Chelsea Council’s progress on identifying suitable accommodation, both temporary and permanent, has been far too slow for survivors.… Read more
Housing campaigners need to acknowledge the uncomfortable quandary about the passing of the Housing and Planning Act. As we pointed out last week, despite near unprecedented concern in the Lords, the government ultimately felt comfortable enough to stand firm with its vision for social housing. It is a notable show of resolve in a year that has seen U-turns on everything from tax credits through academies to the Human Rights Act.
I think an anecdote from the start of … Read more
Wednesday’s budget furrowed many a brow at Shelter. The Chancellor singled out housing support for substantial cuts. A lot of the people who come to Shelter for help are about to find themselves worse off – and our job just got tougher.
However, amidst this frustration there were some sensible tax reforms that deserve an honourable mention.
1. Raise the Roof
The Budget raised the tax-free threshold for the rent-a-room scheme.
This scheme was introduced in 1992 to offer … Read more