Shelter Briefing: General Debate on Housing

By: Robin White  Published: April 2018

At the heart of every problem that we see is the overall lack of affordable homes. Quite simply we aren’t building enough homes – and haven’t for a generation. In addition, the homes we are building are all too often unaffordable, unattractive and lacking in necessary community infrastructure. We need to change this by closing loopholes in current planning legislation that give landowners and developers too much control over what gets built, and kickstart a new era of largescale public sector housebuilding.


In England, we are facing an acute housing crisis, one driven by a long-term failure to build enough homes, and in particular enough affordable homes. The results of are stark:

  • 300,000 families are now homeless in England, including 127,000 children;
  • 78,000 households are living in temporary accommodation;
  • Average house prices are 8 times income for ordinary working families;

To resolve these challenges, the core solution is dramatically increasing the delivery of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy. This needs to be achieved by a combination of increasing the number provided by private developers as part of Section 106 planning obligations and by unleashing a new wave of public sector housebuilding comparable to the post-war years, one based on the principles found in the Shelter’s New Civic Housebuilding report.


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