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House & Home

Report demands more homes to tackle housing crisis


More new homes must be built to tackle "the country's burgeoning housing crisis", a new report has said.

The National Housing Federation, the homelessness charity Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing, called on the Government to do more after publishing their second Housing Report which finds it is failing in five out of 10 key issues.

It urged the coalition to "get Britain building" to provide thousands of much-needed homes, with the benefit of stimulating the economy.

The report found that affordability of the rented sector, help with housing costs, homelessness, the housing supply and overcrowding were getting worse.

The study found no change in the issues of home ownership, mobility and planning, while there were improvements in empty homes and "evictions, repossessions and arrears".

After publishing the findings, the authors said "the Government is falling well short in tackling the country's burgeoning housing crisis".

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said: "Much more needs to be done to tackle this country's dire housing crisis.

"Unless we build significantly more homes, it will only get worse.

"Building new homes will help fix our broken housing market and, with rising unemployment and living costs, spur economic growth by creating jobs and supporting small businesses.

"It's a win/win for the taxpayer and for the millions stuck on waiting lists."

Kay Boycott, director of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter, said: "Every day Shelter sees families up and down the country whose lives are being torn apart by the shortage of affordable homes.

"This government has had two years to start delivering on housing, yet this report paints a pretty bleak picture of its current record on housing in all its forms.

"We must now see progress made on the commitments outlined in November's Housing Strategy and bolder action taken to make sure families across the country can find a decent place to call home."

Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: "The Housing Report shows the Government's progress in addressing our national housing crisis is limited.

"With the economy now in double dip recession, the pressures on the housing system will only increase and the Government needs to step up its efforts in response and be more ambitious in its strategy to boost housing supply and activity in the wider housing sector.

"Addressing the housing crisis in this way would also be a much-needed and powerful stimulus to economic growth."

Progress to get Britain building was being made, Housing Minister Grant Shapps said, adding he was "delighted that such an influential range of organisations are now joining me in raising housing as one of the key issues we face in this country today".

Mr Shapps said: "With the support of the Prime Minister our housing plans are taking centre stage in the economic recovery, getting people into jobs, helping aspiring homeowners on to the housing ladder and getting Britain building.

"We have made real progress and I am pleased that this is recognised by a number of 'green' and 'amber' lights in the report, but I am under no illusions that we still have a long way to go.

"That is why we are continually striving to introduce measures to help those in need.

"I am determined to ensure support is available to those not wanting to buy, which is why I want councils to use the full range of powers at their disposal to help those at risk of homelessness.

"Far from rents rising, we have seen a real terms fall in private rents and I want to see councils using the powers that they already have to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords.

"And for the Government's part, I'm sure these housing organisations will welcome our Affordable Homes Programme which is set to exceed expectations and deliver up to 170,000 affordable homes, and a £1.3 billion investment to get Britain building."