Levelling up with social housing

The government’s flagship levelling up programme wants to tackle inequalities by ‘spreading opportunity’, ‘backing community life’ and ‘restoring local pride’ to cities, towns, coastal areas and villages that have been left behind.

Find out why this can’t be done without building the social homes we desperately need.

Why is social housing important for levelling up?

Left behind places are areas that haven't had the investment they need. Too often, they are left behind on housing too.

Right across the country millions of people do not have a good quality place to call home at a price that’s fair. And the cost of living crisis is going to make the situation worse.

Put simply, home is everything. And this is especially true for those people and places identified as left behind.

The impact of the housing emergency

Last year, we produced a report about the impact of the housing emergency on three locations: Burnley, Plymouth and Sheffield. We used the local knowledge of our hub services and real stories from the people they support.

These stories highlight the deep and varied housing problems across our country.

For people like those in our report struggling with rising rents and stuck in unfit accommodation, a tangible improvement in their housing situation would significantly boost living standards. It would increase opportunities and truly represent levelling up.

That’s why we need a new generation of good quality, cheap to heat, genuinely affordable social homes. Social homes with rents pegged to local incomes that stay affordable over time. Only then will everyone have a safe, permanent place to live and the foundations to thrive.

What the government is doing

The government has published the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

If the government takes the right action, this is a piece of legislation that has the potential to make building more social homes easier and cheaper to do.

The two big changes that are being proposed are the scrapping of:

  • section 106. This is the mechanism that councils use to make sure developers include affordable homes in their housing projects. It will be replaced with a new Infrastructure Levy, which would set a flat tax on any new development.

  • Compulsory Purchase Orders and hope value. Compulsory Purchase Orders allow councils to purchase land from private individuals without their consent. This is in exchange for a compensation payment called hope value. Hope value is calculated by looking at what the land would be worth if it was sold to build luxury flats, and so makes land extremely expensive.

What we want to happen

We believe the government should use the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to reform the system and unlock the building of more social homes.

We want the government to make sure that the bill:

  • forces developers to build more social homes. The proposed new Infrastructure Levy must focus on making sure more social homes are delivered than with the current system. This could be done by making social housing delivery an onsite requirement of any new development.

  • makes land cheaper so councils can build social homes. Hope value must be scrapped to make building social housing around 40% cheaper. It will also make brownfield, urban land more likely to be used to build the homes communities need.

You can read our full report on unlocking social housing.

External shot of social housing block of flats.

Why we must level up with social housing

For the 17.5 million adults in Britain who are affected by the housing emergency, levelling up starts with home.

To truly level up, the government must use the bill to make building more social homes easier and cheaper to do.

Social housing is the most affordable type of housing. It stays affordable over time, anchoring local people in the places they want to live. And it makes sure they can share in the benefits of levelling up with a safe, secure and permanent place to live.

Let's build a better future, let’s level up with social housing.

Join our campaign to scrap hope value and unlock social housing

Sign our petition