Submission: Treasury Committee inquiry into an equal recovery

By: Shelter
Published: September 2021

Submission: Treasury Committee inquiry into an equal recovery

The pandemic has affected us all, but it has not affected us equally. The economic impact of
COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities: while some households have benefitted from increased savings during lockdown, others have fallen into rent arrears, debt, and homelessness. The impact has also been unevenly distributed across the country, with greater levels of need arising in areas where the cost of housing is high, and the undersupply of social housing is most acute.

The long-term impacts on inequality within the housing market are yet to be seen, but the government can enact policies now which will ensure a more equal recovery from the pandemic and protect low-income households in future economic downturns.

To prevent the pandemic from further cementing economic inequalities, Shelter is calling
on the government to:

  • Build at least 90,000 social homes in England a year, to provide families in need with secure, affordable, good quality homes. This would tackle the root causes of intergenerational inequality as well as build resilience into the housing system.

  • Unfreeze Local Housing Allowance and keep the rates in line with at least the 30th percentile of market rents.

  • Remove the benefit cap.

  • Remove geographical restrictions on eligibility for grant in the Affordable Homes Programme. This investment would represent a true commitment to levelling up communities across the country.