One North …. Plus?

On Tuesday something strange happened. Everyone in politics agreed on something.

One North – a collection of five cities working together – put forward an ambitious proposal on how to improve transport connectivity, dubbed the “Crossrail of the North”.

George Osborne pledged support, stating he’d make the plans the centrepiece of his Autumn Statement. And Ed Balls welcomed the proposals too.

However, before everyone runs away with themselves I want to offer an amendment, an addition to the plans. Let’s … Read more

Crisis in the Capital

In January, the Evening Standard reported a recent poll, carried out by Ipsos MORI for London Councils, which revealed that four in five Londoners (82 per cent) agree there is a “housing crisis in London”.

It is little wonder when you consider the state of our capital’s housing.

London is unaffordable

House prices in the capital are 18.1 per cent higher than their pre-recession peak in January 2008. The average home was valued at £441,000 in November 2013, Read more

The question should now be about 'how' to get houses built

Shelter have long been campaigning for more houses. We need around 250,000 new homes per year to keep pace with the projected growth in households and even this doesn’t address the cumulative shortfall of past decades. Unfortunately, we are currently building around half of this. If this trend continues, prices will continue to grow at a fast pace putting a strain on families’ lives and budgets.

But the stage on from this is about how we get houses built. Earlier … Read more

Shared ownership: has potential, needs reform

Two weeks ago Shelter launched its call for a bigger, better shared ownership market for low to middle income families.

In our report, Homes for forgotten families, we found that 1.8 million families typically earning £20,000 – £40,000 were unable to afford a family home in their area through full ownership. With home ownership out of reach and social housing in short supply, the only realistic option for most of these families is to raise their children in our … Read more

Low to middle income families need bigger, better shared ownership

Buying a family home used to be an affordable, achievable aspiration for many low and middle income families, those typically earning between £20-40,000. But not anymore. That’s the finding in Shelter’s new report on how low to middle income families are faring in our housing market.

Over the last decade, the number of low to middle income families buying homes has been in steady decline. For many, their only option now is to raise their children with a backdrop … Read more

Government acknowledges size matters

The Government today published its proposals to review the housing standards in the hope that this will ‘free up the building industry, support growth and get high quality homes built’.  Over 100 standards currently available to local councils, such as Lifetime Homes, face abolition.

For the handful of housing standards that will be kept, councils will only be able to apply them after conducting ‘a rigorous viability and need assessment’.  While this will undoubtedly cut red tape, it’s … Read more

Guest blog: CPRE on how to get homes built
Guest blog: CPRE on how to get homes built

Polling shows that most people agree there is a housing crisis. But nearly half don’t believe that new homes are needed in their local area. When opposition blocks local development, this limits the numbers of homes available for young people and families starting out, and holds back our economy.

New Shelter evidence reveals that the size of new homes is a major factor in local concerns about development. Nearly half (44%) of the public told us they were more likely … Read more

Scrutiny of benefit bill should trigger building, not cuts

After lots of policy posturing over the last few years, Ed Miliband’s speech today set out the clearest indication yet on what a Labour government would do on welfare, a sensitive and tricky issue for the party.

The main points from the speech were that the Labour party is now going to be using the term ‘social security’ instead of ‘welfare’, they are looking into an overall cap on welfare spending, and were crystal clear that the housing benefit bill … Read more

Help to who? Can it help the 'right' people?

Blimey. I’m quite used to my policy ideas being roundly abused by one set of people or another – in fact it’s not a bad test of an idea’s salience: if no-one at all is outraged it’s probably a non-starter.

But I’m not sure I can remember a policy that has attracted quite such a thorough a kicking as George Osborne’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.

We’ve always argued that profligate lending to struggling households desperate to get on … Read more

Fitting the bill

No one applauds real commitment to help renting families more loudly than us. Labour’s proposal yesterday for a housing bill to tackle rip-off fees and poor standards and give renters more security ticks a lot of Shelter boxes. Coming on top of last year’s government pledges to clamp down on rogue landlords and this month’s new legislation on letting agents it’s more welcome evidence of an emerging political consensus  on the need to tackle problems in the private rented sector.… Read more

Help to buy – who will it help?

The flavour of today’s Budget was very much helping Britain to be an ‘aspiration nation’. A cornerstone of which was about helping people achieve ‘that most human of aspirations’: owning a home.

That came with a major policy announcement: the Help to Buy scheme – a morphing and extending of existing schemes to boost ownership, NewBuy and FirstBuy.

So who does Help to Buy help then?

Help to Buy equity loan

Formerly known as FirstBuy, the Government gives … Read more

We need new homes. And some of them need to be in your back yard

We’ve been arguing for a while (since about 1966, in fact) that as a country we need to build more good quality affordable homes. Sadly, though, the last fifty years have in fact seen an almost continuous decline in the number of new homes being built.

But there are signs that there is an increasing appetite for this to change. At last year’s party conferences, David Cameron urged people to accept that ‘we need more homes in Britain’, … Read more