Barker Review Submission

Published: July 2003

Barker Review Submission

Its remit included consideration of the interaction between the house building industry, the development control or planning system, and policies aimed at promoting sustainable development.

The interim report of the Barker Review was published in December 2003. The final report is expected in Spring 2004.

Shelter's core concerns

The Barker Review's concern with housing shortages is core to Shelter's concerns. It is vital that the deliberations and recommendations of the Review should focus on:

  • questions of fairness

  • the effect of decent housing on the life-chances of individuals, as well as

  • questions of efficiency, and

  • the smooth functioning of the economy.

Need for affordable housing

Shelter estimates a total affordable housing requirement as follows:

  • 16,000 per year to reduce the backlog of need;

  • 70,000 per year to meet the affordable housing component of overall housing growth;

  • 10,000 per year to compensate for the shrinkage of the private rented sector's role in meeting housing need.

Shelter's vision for housing supply

An effective framework for housing supply will need to address three main issues

Respond to changing demand

It must take account of overall growth in household numbers, as well as the rise in average incomes, A failure to respond to this rising demand will result in higher house.

Respond to a variety of needs

Whilst London and the South of England enjoy higher average incomes than England as a whole, this comes with:

  • an unequal income distribution

  • a large number of households on low incomes or who are economically inactive.

In a constrained housing market, and without sufficient government intervention, poorer and more vulnerable households will suffer poor housing conditions, and will have to spend long periods waiting for a decent home. There is substantial evidence that this is exactly what is happening in the South of England.

Employ a variety of mechanisms


  • government investment in social housing to meet the needs of low income households

  • use of the land-use planning system to ensure that affordable housing is provided within new developments

  • a greater role for the private rented sector in supplying housing - particularly housing that is affordable to low income groups.


* Kate Barker is an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of England.