West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper met with Shelter, the UK’s largest housing and homelessness charity, to support the campaign for more social homes.
Last year Shelter gave information, support and advice to millions of people experiencing bad housing and homelessness but today the country is facing a national housing emergency driven by a long-term failure to build the social homes that this country desperately needs.
For generations, social housing played a vital role in meeting the housing needs of ordinary people, giving millions the quality and dignity of life that insecure and unaffordable private renting could not. A steep decline in social housebuilding has contributed to an increase in homelessness and a huge increase in private renting as more and more cannot afford to buy a home.
Government is currently spending billions of pounds a year on housing benefit, much of which goes to private landlords, and councils are spending hundreds of millions on temporary accommodation to house homeless households.
Shelter is campaigning, with MP Rosie’s support, for 3 million new social homes through
- Rediscovering the purpose of social housing as a foundation of community, safety and stability;
- Increasing the levels of grant funding made available for social housing providers;
- Reforming England’s broken land market so that land comes into development at a price that makes the delivery of quality, well-designed and affordable housing possible again.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“In West Lancashire we have a council housing waiting list of over 700 people, and not enough new social homes are being built, which is an absolute failure of the government who are not providing councils with enough funding for these new social homes, and are in fact cutting councils’ budgets.
“The government need to take serious action as this is a national scandal. Their current action to date has been too weak, too slow and has overlooked many issues to do with private renting, council housebuilding, health and safety in homes and homelessness.
“It is evident that social housing has become far from affordable in recent years, as existing rents have risen and many new homes are let at higher, market-linked ‘affordable rents’. More than half of families currently living in temporary accommodation in England are in employment, demonstrating that ‘affordable rents’ are not, in fact, affordable for many working people.
“It is our belief that an ambitious social housing programme is fundamental to solving the current housing crisis and that this Government must take a leading role in directly commissioning social homes where the market fails to deliver.
“I have raised these concerns directly with the new Housing Secretary and I will work with residents to ensure our voice is heard loud and clear in parliament.”