Where Will We Live (Part 2)

In 2016 a survey conducted by Inside Housing found that since the Local Housing Act came into force in 2012, 239,793 people have been removed from the waiting lists of over 150 English councils and 42,994 new applicants have been rejected. In Northampton, research by Inside Housing found that 5,396 households were removed from their 10,500 household waiting list a year after the Local Housing Act came into force. This forces households to either choose homelessness or the private rental market, which partly due to the overall deficit in housing has seen rents grow 14.7% between January 2011 and May 2017. This outstrips the growth in wages which have fallen almost continuously since 2008 and despite rallying in 2014 are yet to return to their pre-recession levels.

In 2017 the Royal Chartered Surveyors estimated that rents would increase by 25% over the next five years whereas wages are predicted to remain well below the levels reached prior to the recession. Turn2Us a national charity created to help people dealing with financial hardship raised alarm over the fact that the average household now spends around 42 per cent of the wages in rent this rises to 72% in London. This is overall 53% higher than rents used to be in the 90s vastly outstripping wage growth which has seen an increase of around 35% since 1993. Overall this points to a worsening of the situation already alluded to by the communities secretary Sajid Javid who described the housing market as “broken” and told his fellow MPs “We have to build more, of the right homes in the right places, and we have to start right now.”.

The Barker review of housing supply provided to the Prime Minister in 2004 by British Economist Kate Barker projected that around 250,000 new houses would be required each year to prevent the “spiralling of housing prices”. It also acknowledged that over time housing had become increasingly affordable. It pointed to the lack of housing is a catalyst for an “ever-widening social and economic divide between those able to access market housing and those kept out”, It acknowledged that houses were more than shelters, that “They provide access to a range of services and to communities” and concluded with “I do not believe that continuing at the current rate of housebuilding is a realistic option, unless we are prepared to accept increasing problems of homelessness, affordability and social division”.

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