Why is there a shortage of new homes being built for social rent?

It has recently been announced that £1.67 billion in funding will be injected into council house building in London. The news comes following research that found England needs 90,000 houses for social rent to be built each year until 2031 to tackle the housing shortage.

The research was conducted by Heriot-Watt University, the National Housing Federation and homelessness charity, Crisis. It advised that the UK requires over four million additional homes to ensure every citizen is securely housed.

Researchers suggest that 145,000 homes should comprise of affordable housing, with the majority made for social rent. In September, the government revealed that a further £2 billion would be made available for affordable housing to build 25,000 homes for social rent over the next three years. However, many feel this is not enough. The current social situation dictates that more and more people need houses for social rent – from the homeless to the elderly.

So, why is there a shortage of houses being built for social rent?

Volume needed

One of the most apparent reasons is supply and demand. With an ageing population, and more people unable to afford the soaring costs of living, more people than ever need access to social rent. Even in 1946 the number of pensioners in Britain was over 4,000,000, with only a fraction having access to accommodation. These figures are growing rapidly, and the market is not keeping up.

Right to Buy schemes

The introduction of the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme, forged by the Housing Act of 1980, had far-reaching ramifications for social housing. The scheme meant that councils were no longer forced to sell off their houses, so the building of new homes began to decline. This also allowed qualified tenants to buy their rented properties, so the number of houses managed by councils shrunk. The amount of family housing reduced, as did council housing stock in the UK.

Funding and cost

One of the biggest causes of the social housing deficit is funding. Over the decades since the The Housing and Town Planning Act of 1919, councils have become burdened with property debt, and council housing has become a provision only for those with no other housing options. Since 1979, governments have shied away from council housing and reduced expenditure, and have instead encouraged private sector developments instead.

Skills shortages

It is well known that all affordable housing developers face challenges. Part of this is due to the long-term skills shortage that is currently particularly prevalent in the industry. Fewer skilled workers mean the capacity to undertake large development programmes is hindered, and with increasing costs of delivery, this can amount to a barrier to completion without significant government funding.

Vulnerable groups

Social housing and new homes also need extra facilities to facilitate day-to-day living for vulnerable groups. As well as lifts and ramps inside the building, there is also a need to consider access and mobility outside of residential buildings too. Ensuring that social housing has facilities such as mobility scooter storage, is essential in providing these vulnerable groups with the new homes they need.

Here at metroSTOR, we design and install a number of outdoor storage solutions for residential buildings. Our waste stream enclosures are specifically designed to secure waste and recycling bins away from residential dwellings to ensure the safety of vulnerable groups. To find out more about how we can create outdoor storage solutions for new homes and social housing projects, contact us today on 08450 750760.