Shelter response to MHCLG announcement on the Affordable Homes Programme

Posted 08 Sep 2020

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “With an unprecedented recession underway, major job losses on the horizon, and a housing emergency about to spin out of control, the government must invest more in social housing than its current plans allow for. Social homes are designed to be genuinely affordable, which is exactly what we need right now. Discounted homeownership schemes are not.

“We welcome the fact that today’s plan points to more social homes being built than we’ve seen in the past. But achieving the step change we need to deal with the scale of crisis that we face will require the government to go further, faster. In five years it will be too late, the government must ringfence enough money and spend it on social homes now.”

Key stats on housing affordability:

  • The latest government statistics show that 73% of private renting families in England have no savings at all, making home ownership through government schemes such as shared ownership or First Homes (which require a deposit) unaffordable.

  • Shelter’s previous analysis revealed that in 96% of the country someone on an average salary or lower could not afford to buy one of the government’s First Homes even with the 30% discount.

  • Over a million households are currently on social housing waiting lists in England.


Notes to editors:

Notes to editor:

  • The proportion of private rented households with dependent children who have no savings (73%) is taken from English Housing Survey, MHCLG, Annex Table 2.12: Savings by tenure and household type, 2018-19 and is the proportion among couples with dependent children and lone parents with dependent children. 

  • Shelter has estimated the relative affordability of this new discount housing offer by taking the mean house price and applying the proposed 30% discount to it for each local authority (data from Her Majesty’s Land Registry). We have then estimated the mortgage needed for any home (based on the typical deposit of 16% of the property value, and a loan to value ratio of 3.6) and compared this with average incomes (using the 2019 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings) to see if the discounted home offer is affordable.