Using the Social Housing Green Paper to boost the supply of low-cost rented homes

Document type
Robson, Brian
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Date of publication
18 February 2018
Social Policy, Housing and Homelessness, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This briefing outlines why the Green Paper must set out a plan to bridge the 30,000 homes per year gap between current supply and objectively-assessed need, with the aim of reducing the cost of housing for low-income families.

Key findings:

  • A step change in delivery of new affordable housing is needed in England. Since 2011, supply has fallen over 180,000 homes short of what is needed. Boosting supply is key to fixing our broken housing market.
  • Real income growth among the bottom fifth of the population in recent years is mostly wiped out once housing costs are considered, with consequences for the living standards of those on low incomes.
  • Pressures are most acute in London and the South East. Housing Benefit provides some relief, but is expensive for government and no longer insulates households from the broken housing market.
  • Improving housing for those on low incomes presents a political opportunity – action is supported by voters across the income distribution.

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