Regional Briefings: Building Our Way Out

Summary

Across England, we are in the midst of a housing emergency. One characterised by high levels of homelessness, expensive private rents, and a severe lack of genuinely affordable social housing. During the pandemic, only half (51%) of private renters in England said their home has made them feel safe.

At the same time, it is clear our housebuilding capacity is also threatened by job losses and businesses failing in the construction sector. Research from Savills, commissioned by Shelter, shows that almost a quarter of a million jobs are at risk in the construction sector and its supply chain unless we take action.

The solution to the housing emergency has always been to build our way out of it, with more decent social rent homes that people on low incomes can afford. Now, in a recession, investing in new social rented housing also holds the key to saving our housebuilding capacity and its contribution to the economy. We need to build back better and level up the country.

To do this, the government must urgently announce a two-year £12.2 billion New Homes Rescue Fund that replaces the existing plans for the new Affordable Homes Programme. At the next spending review, this should be followed by a new ten-year Level-Up Housing Programme that invests £12.8 billion per year from 2023/24, with an aim to deliver at least 90,000 new social homes per year.