Solutions to the housing crisis must go beyond building new homes

LONDON, 9th May 2024 – A coalition of cross-party parliamentarians, renters unions and think tanks came together in a parliamentary roundtable to discuss policy solutions to the housing crisis that go beyond building new homes.

Parliamentarians, renters groups and think tanks discuss scaling up council home acquisition programmes and strengthening renters rights

Hosted in Portcullis House by Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, on behalf of Positive Money and the London Renters Union, the event brought together parliamentarians, renters unions and policy experts from think tanks, charities and academia, for a discussion entitled: ‘Beyond Building: Fixing the UK Housing Crisis’.

Positive Money research has indicated that rather than being primarily a problem of supply, the housing crisis has been driven by a combination of policy choices including financial liberalisation, mortgage reform and lack of investment in the existing building stock, which have incentivised the use of homes as financial assets, driving up prices.

Siobhan Donnachie, Campaigns Officer of the London Renters Union, discussed the need for urgent reforms to the private rented sector to respond to the acute crisis facing renters in the UK. Danisha Kazi, Head of Economics at Positive Money, presented research detailing the disproportionate impacts of the housing crisis on people of different ethnicities.

Alex Diner, Senior Researcher at the New Economics Foundation, and Siân Berry, former London Assembly member and Green MP candidate in Brighton Pavilion, presented ideas on how local authority acquisitions of privately-rented housing could boost the stock of council homes, including how the ‘Right to buy-back’ scheme pioneered by the Greater London Authority (GLA) could be scaled up to increase the supply of social housing nationally.

Discussants included social housing expert Lord Best, as well as representatives of the Renters Reform Coalition, Generation Rent, the Runnymede Trust and ACORN Union.

Danisha Kazi, Head of Economics at Positive Money, said: “It’s positive to see policymakers engaging with a broad range of groups around policy solutions to the housing crisis that tackle its fundamental driver: the use of homes as financial assets rather than as a safe place to live.

“Ultimately we need a bold strategy for long-term housing affordability, which requires various policy shifts, from improving alternatives to homeownership, to reforming financial regulation and taxation.

“Buying back properties from the private rental sector to use as social housing will not only give people without the means or desire to buy a home a much-needed, markedly cheaper alternative to privately renting, it will also save councils cash, as the money they pay out in housing benefit will return to their own pot, not go to that of a private landlord.”

Source: Positive money

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Solutions to the housing crisis must go beyond building new homes

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