According to Brandon Lewis, the latest Housing Minister, the new statistics for “affordable homes” is a “clear sign” of how the government’s long-term economic plan is working. Since April 2010 when the coalition government was cobbled together, 204,000 “affordable homes” have been provided. This is presented as if the total was the work of the coalition government. What he neglects to mention is that at least 60,000 of this figure was built with funding from the previous government’s ‘National Affordable Housing Programme 2008-11’. When the coalition’s “Affordable Homes Programme” kicked in the number dropped by around 18,000 per year for the last two years.

Even worse, the number of ‘social rent’ homes built has dropped by around two thirds since 2009-10, to only 10,840 in 2013-14. Even when you add the ill-named “affordable rent” (up to 80% of market rents) then we find that last year there were only 30,580 ‘social homes’ built, still below the numbers for 2009-10 and 2010-11. The stupidity of “affordable rent” is that it drives up the housing benefit bill. A recent Financial Times investigation discovered that 75% of people paying AR were on housing benefit, even higher than the 66% in ‘social housing’.

Out of the 204,000, 63,000 were “affordable home ownership” which includes part-ownership. The term perverts the meaning of the language. For instance a £705,000 flat in London is deemed “affordable” on the basis of a 25% stake. The ‘owner’ had a combined rent and mortgage bill of around £2,300 a month!

‘Intermediate rent’ (between ‘social rent’ and market rent) has declined from over 4,000 to only 790 last year.

For the three years of the NAHP over 173,060 “affordable homes” were produced, of which 103,030 were ‘social rent’. In the first three years of the coalition government just 143,740 have been provided with only 65,000 ‘social rent’ homes (if you include “affordable rent”). Such is the ‘success’ story of the coalition.

As for net additional homes (new build, plus conversions, minus demolitions) in England, the coalition government has overseen a decline in the numbers in three straight years, still 20,000 shy of the previous government’s figures of 144,000 at the bottom of the housing crash. We don’t have the figures for the last year as yet.

This decline overseen by the coalition is the result of its austerity programme which included a 60% cut in investment for “affordable homes”. Despite the efforts of each succeeding Housing Minister (it’s the short straw for government jobs) to paint failure as success, they are condemned by their own figures.

Given the scale of the housing crisis, a crisis of affordability (both for rent and buying), the policy of the coalition is disastrous. Instead of promoting the building of Council housing and ‘social rent’, it is promoting the decline of Council housing through ‘right to buy’ and the driving up of rents from ‘social rent’ towards market levels. Over the first three years of the coalition the number of Council homes in England fell by 104,000. This is one of the undeclared aims of its policy, to oversee a decline in the number of Council homes available

Martin Wicks

England

2004-

05

2005-

06

2006-

07

2007-

08

2008-

09

2009-

10

2010-

11

2011-

12

2012-

13

2013-

14

Social rent

21670

23630

24670

29640

30900

33180

38950

37680

17620

10840

Affordable rent

930

6980

19740

Intermediate

of which

rent

ownership

15800

1510

14280

22350

1680

20680

19630

1200

18430

23530

1110

22420

24600

1710

22900

24800

2560

22240

21530

4520

17010

19500

1920

17590

18320

1070

17260

12130

790

11330

Total

37470

45980

44300

53180

55500

57980

60480

58110

42920

42710

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