Briefing: Backbench Business Debate on the British Housebuilding Industry

By: Robin White  Published: September 2019


Today, we face a national housing emergency. One that is driven by a long-term failure to build the social homes that this country desperately needs. For generations, social housing played a vital role in meeting the housing needs of ordinary people, giving millions the quality and dignity of life that insecure and unaffordable private renting could not. A steep decline in social housebuilding has contributed to an increase in homelessness and a huge increase in private renting as more and more cannot afford to buy a home. Government is currently spending billions of pounds a year on housing benefit, much of which goes to private landlords, and councils are spending hundreds of millions on temporary accommodation to house homeless households.

In recent years there has been an increase in housebuilding overall. However, social housing delivery remains at historically low levels and there is little reason to believe that our current housing model will deliver these homes.

This is why Shelter is campaigning for 3 million new social homes to be delivered over the next 20 years. To do this we must:

  • Rediscover the purpose of social housing as a foundation of community, safety and stability;
  • Increase the levels of grant funding made available for social housing providers;
  • Reform England’s broken land market so that land comes into development at a price that makes the delivery of quality, well-designed and affordable housing possible again.


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