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Housing Shortages Sees £2m A Day Spent On Temporary Accommodation
A shortage of affordable housing around the UK is seeing local councils all over the country forced to spend more than £2 million a day in order to provide temporary accommodation to homeless families.
This is according to the latest report from the Local Government Association (LGA), revealing that the number of affordable homes fell between 2015 and 2016 by 52 per cent – the lowest number in 24 years. In that same year, just 6,554 social rented houses were built. This fall in affordable housing construction, coupled with the squeeze on household incomes, has seen the number of families placed into temporary accommodation climb by 50 per cent since 2010.
Now, nearly 75,000 households are living in temporary accommodation, including hostels, B&Bs and private rented housing – which, as the LGA notes, is bad for communities and families, as well as being expensive for local authorities. In the last three years alone, councils have had to spend £2.6 billion in order to house people in temporary accommodation.
The organisation – which represents over 350 councils in England and Wales – is now calling on the government to use the Spring Budget to free councils from their borrowing limits, which are getting in the way of building new homes in their regions. It’s also keen to see welfare reforms adapted to protect those at risk of homelessness.
LGA chairman Lord Porter said: “A renaissance in housebuilding by councils and a plan to reduce the squeeze on household incomes are both needed if we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis, reducing homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation, and sustainably reducing the housing benefit bill.”
At the start of last month (February), the government’s latest housing White Paper pledged to build more affordable houses, while helping people to both buy and rent. The government says a minimum of 250,000 new houses are needed annually in order to keep up with demand, the BBC reports. Measures include banning letting agents fees, encouraging the extension of building upwards in towns and cities, expecting property developers to avoid low-density housing where land availability is restricted, reducing the time permitted between planning permission and the start of construction from three to two years, and making use of a £3 billion fund to help smaller building companies compete with major developers.
Communities secretary Sajid Javid was quoted by the news source as saying: “With prices continuing to skyrocket, if we don’t act now a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system. The housing market in this country is broken and the solution means building many more houses in the places that people want to live.”
Ministers have already come out and said that the government is lagging behind its own schedule to build a million new homes in England come the year 2020.
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