98% of councils failing on affordability

19 March 2010

Housing League Table website

98 per cent of local authorities in England are failing to deliver enough affordable homes to meet need, a new website launched by Shelter has found.

Shelter’s Housing League Table, launched today, found that only 8 of 323 councils in England are providing enough or more affordable homes than are needed, meaning a 98 per cent local authority failure rate.

Local authorities are responsible for identifying the housing need in their area and for ensuring enough affordable homes are provided to meet this need.

However, Shelter league tables also show that in the last year a total of 90 per cent of councils (292) provided fewer than half the homes they say are needed.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: 'We know that the recession has created a difficult climate for house building, but these figures clearly show that councils must work far harder to ensure more desperately needed affordable homes are provided if they ever hope to meet the housing needs of their local population.

'With 1.8 million households on housing waiting lists and more than one million children living in overcrowded homes it is unacceptable that only 8 councils have provided enough affordable homes to meet local need.'

The findings are part of Shelter’s Housing League Table, a new one-stop-shop website that provides local housing data including house prices, housing waiting lists, levels of housing delivery and practical suggestions of what councils can do to provide more affordable homes.

The website also ranks councils according to their current levels of affordable housing delivery against their analysis of housing need. 

Shelter hopes the website will provide councillors and members of the public with easily accessible information about the need for more housing in their local area. The new site also highlights the gaps in local authority housing data and will be used to hold councils to account on their performance.

Shelter’s Housing League Table will be updated annually to hold council performance and Government policies to account on delivering more affordable homes. This will also highlight those councils who do not provide robust data on housing delivery.

Mr Robb added: 'A step change in affordable housing delivery is urgently needed and all councils must think about how they can work creatively with their partners to deliver more homes.

'But in the current financial climate, and with council budgets set to be slashed, it is also vital that all political parties make affordable housing a top priority, now and in the future.'