The ongoing problem of Britain’s housing shortage

The ongoing problem of Britain’s housing shortage has not just happened but has been going on and getting worse for many decades. The Government white paper released recently has promised a new wave of house building to ease the ongoing problem of housing shortage, and what with current house prices around 7.5 times higher than the average income, as well as the problem of having very high rental charges, it’s not going to be easy to find a solution.

The Government is being urged to get on and build more houses in the right places where people want to live so as to ease the continuing housing crisis. The current housing minister, Sajid Javad, is proposing that Local Councils should have to publish their projections for house building with the more pro-active authorities able to access a share of the 25 million of new funding. If they do not have a suitable plan in place by 2018 then the Government will become involved. Developers should be forced to use or lose planning permission if it has been granted. Another proposal is for older people to be given incentives to move out of larger houses, which to me sounds like pie in the sky and clasping at straws, and tenants given more protection, for example over the length of their tenancy, so as to give them more security and able to plan their futures more confidently.

Since 2001, only 7.100 new homes have been built in the Newcastle area compared to just under 35,000 in the Manchester area. Home ownership has actually gone down during the last 7 years which is surprising given the Conservatives have been in power during this time. The Conservative manifesto stated they would build 200,000 starter homes by 2020 to be made available for first time buyers under 40 at a discount of 20% of market value but they now say they will focus on a wider range of affordable housing!

According to Open Data Communities (DCLG), the percentage of 24-34 year olds privately renting has more than doubled between 2003-2004 to 2014-15.

The Government’s recent proposals also include a ban on letting agency fees to tenants but no date as to when this will happen. However thoughts are this will simply mean any increase in fees will be passed onto the landlord.

The Government says it intends to expand its housing programme with more affordable homes being built during the current parliament and plans for smaller firms to be given help to expand. It also wants to put an end to ‘leasehold abuse’ which is when buyers are locked into leases with ever increasing ground rents. They also intend to encourage developers to build houses available to let as well as building houses to buy.

Apparently, due to the density of the population, new homes and flats are now much smaller than the rest of Europe.

In our area, North Tyneside Council has approved provisional plans to develop the Old Avenue Hotel site in Whitley Bay which the Council bought in 2014, this will be used for residential development. They are also building 13 homes in Reed Avenue, Camperdown which will be available to rent from North Tyneside Development Company.

North Tyneside Council’s strategic planning say in recent years they have embarked on a significant house building programme and their objective is for 3,000 new local authority houses to be built on council owned land, however this is a 15 year venture – so let’s not all hold our breath!

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