The Institute for Public Policy (IPPR) think-tank today published the conclusions of its 18-month long review of housing policy “Together at Home – A New Strategy for Housing“. It makes interesting reading and proposes the need for a coherent new strategy for housing policy. It offers a three pronged solution comprising: a social argument for homeownership, better deals for renters e.g. more regulation of private sector, greater flexibility in social housing and new ideas offering improved security for family long term renters; and finally what it referred to as a ‘new form of progressive localism in housing’.
Its research indicates that over the next four years the UK will spend c£95 billion on Housing Benefits, but less than £5 billion on building new homes. Interestingly they point out that this is a reversal of the position in the 1970′s, where 80% of public spending went on housing. Spending on housing typically does have a multiplier effect, where every £1 spent on construction results in the economy boosted by roughly £3 of gross output. Support for the think-tanks main recommendations from David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, underpinned this by saying ‘Unlocking investment to build new homes is a way of managing down the Housing Benefit bill, by addressing the weaker supply side and boosting the economy…’
In the 21st century, we should all have the opportunity to meet our home ownership aspirations. The housing minister himself said “We want to help everyone achieve their aspirations, and feel the pride of home ownership.” A housing policy that offers a holistic and integrated approach: increasing supply; offering more flexibility and innovation in approaches to sustainable homeownership that increase social mobility and more diverse cohesive communities; and supports greater private sector investment should enable these aspirations.
As Nick Pearce of IPPR also added ‘Now is the time for a radical new direction…”