Senior Conservative councillors urge Government to invest more in low-cost rented homes

Over seventy percent of Conservative council leaders and housing leads, who responded to a new poll, warn that current Government investment will not deliver enough low-cost rented homes in their area.

The new Survation poll of 121 senior Conservative councillors from across the country was conducted for the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation ahead of the Government’s Social Housing Green Paper, expected in the next few months.

The results show that despite the Prime Minister pledging an additional £2 billion of funding for affordable housing last year, 71% of councillors polled within her party remain concerned that this will not be enough to meet the needs of their constituents.

Furthermore, almost all the councillors surveyed (96%) argued the Social Housing Green Paper must address the supply of low-cost rented homes as part of its comprehensive review of affordable housing in England. For local leaders this is their top priority ahead of issues such as how social housing is managed and allocated.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:

“Homelessness and poverty should have no place in our society. However, right now millions of people are locked out of being able to achieve a decent standard of living due to crippling rents.

“There is widespread consensus in every region, every political party and across the entire housing sector that we need significantly more investment in low-cost rented housing. Though, we are yet to see action from the Government on the scale required to tackle the housing crisis facing millions of people across England.

“Struggling families are relying on the Prime Minister to live up to her stated mission of redesigning our housing market so it works for everyone. Only by addressing the chronic shortfall in the supply of low-cost rented homes, can the Government begin to loosen the grip of poverty.”

Lord Gary Porter CBE, Conservative Councillor, Leader of South Holland District Council and Conservative Member of the House of Lords said:

“I welcome this research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which makes an important contribution to the debate on the future of social housing.

“The Prime Minister has made it clear that getting more homes of all types, including social housing for rent, built is one of the Government’s key priorities and Conservative local government supports the commitment to deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.”

“However, the last time the country built more than 250,000 homes a year councils built 40% of them. If local government is to play our role in meeting these ambitious targets we need to be given greater freedom to build new homes. Housebuilding by councils at scale would boost local economies and productivity, reduce housing benefit spending and homelessness, put Right to Buy on a sustainable footing, and create revenue generating assets for communities.

“Last Autumn’s Budget saw a positive step in that direction when the Chancellor lifted the housing borrowing cap for councils in areas of high affordability pressure. Whilst welcoming this announcement we have consistently called for the cap to be lifted for all councils. Doing so would spark a renaissance in house building, allowing us in local government to do our bit to help address the housing crisis.”

In order to redesign the housing market so it works for everyone, JRF is calling on the Government to deliver at least 80,000 low-cost rented homes each year in England.

You can view the full polling on the Survation website.