Affordable housing must be starting point of plan to make Britain work for all

Responding to Theresa May’s speech at Conservative party conference, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), Julia Unwin, said:

“Theresa May spoke passionately about healing the divisions after the vote to leave the EU and a programme of economic and social reform. 13.5 million people live in poverty in the UK, so change is badly needed and it is now time to come good on the promise to make the country work for everyone. It was encouraging hear the Prime Minister’s desire for the government to reform markets and work with business to deliver a more prosperous country.

The Prime Minister was right to put affordable housing at the heart of her speech. For too long, the housing market has led to sky-high costs and insecurity for people on low incomes, trapping them in poverty. For many, buying is simply not an option. We must use the Autumn Statement to get Britain building the affordable homes we desperately need. Embracing Living Rents and investing an extra £1 billion a year could build 80,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy in England.

Driving up educational attainment, helping people secure work which improves their living standards and supporting people when they are unable to work are the foundations to make sure everyone can enjoy a secure and decent life. We’d like to see more detail come forward on how this will be achieved, alongside action on the high cost of living, driving up skills and supporting families to stop poverty in its tracks.

One of the key lessons from the Brexit vote is that the government must ensure prosperity reaches all corners of the country. The Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine should not be competing visions, but part of a wider plan that helps spur economic growth that benefits everyone.”