Debate on social housing, House of Commons, 13 June 2019

Social housing should be treated as an important national investment and seen as a desirable long-term option for a home.


Key messages

  • Social housing should be treated as an important national investment and seen as a desirable long-term option for a home. Councils have a key role to play in this. The last time we built at least 250,000 homes a year, councils delivered more than 40 per cent of them.
  • The Government has accepted our long-standing call to scrap the housing borrowing cap, which is good news. This could lead to up to 10,000 additional new homes a year.
  • The number of homes built for social rent each year has fallen from over 40,000 in 1997 to 6,000 in 2017. This has pushed many people into often more expensive and less secure private rented homes. The housing benefit bill paid to private landlords has more than doubled since the early 2000s.
  • Councils want to encourage home ownership, without a corresponding decline in the number of social rented homes. It is essential that the Right to Buy is reformed so that councils can replace every social rented home sold.
  • We welcomed the social housing green paper, published in August 2018, and the positive intent it showed. The green paper is only a small step towards delivering the number of social homes the country needs.
  • Planning is not a barrier to building. Councils are approving nine in ten planning applications. Housebuilders currently have 423,000 homes with permission that they are still to build.
  • Councils need long-term funding certainty in order to invest properly in social housing. The local government funding gap is estimated to rise to £8 billion by 2024/25. It is vital that the Government uses the 2019 Spending Review to deliver truly sustainable funding for local government.

Download the full presentation:
Debate on social housing, House of Commons, 13 June 2019