A new survey finds the public believes ministers could do more

The British public wants the government to do more to solve the country’s housing crisis, according to a new survey.

House building

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Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson and his ministers to act after an Ipsos Mori survey for the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) found more than two thirds of those polled believed the government could do something about the nation’s housing problems.

Strong support came across in the survey for social housing, which more than two thirds of those polled believed helped to tackle poverty.

More than half of those surveyed expected the housing crisis to impact them personally and among renters or those living with their parents the despondency is such that nearly two thirds don’t think they will ever be able to buy their own home.

The spotlight is on the new communities secretary Robert Jenrick and housing minister Esther McVey – both appointees of new prime minister Johnson – to see what action the government will take to tackle the housing situation.

Both ministers’ predecessors – James Brokenshire and Kit Malthouse – were vocal supporters of increasing the scope for social housebuilding, but the new regime has yet to show its colours when it comes to detailing help for local authorities and housing associations to build more homes.

Speaking about the results of its survey CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat said the findings sent a very clear message to the new government. “The housing crisis is real and we are simply not doing enough. It’s clear that the British public supports more social housing.”

Alafat said the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s decision to fast-track his spending review was a “golden opportunity for ministers to make the ambitious changes on housing which could start to make a real difference”.

The CIH has teamed up with the National Housing Federation, charities Crisis and Shelter and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England to persuade the government to do more to tackle the housing crisis.

Said Alafat: “We have called for a 10-year programme to build 145,000 affordable homes a year, with 90,000 of those at social rents. This would cost £12.8bn a year and would return spending levels to those under Winston Churchill in the early 1950s.

“That programme would unlock billions of pounds of funding from the housing industry and add an additional £120bn to the economy each year through the creation of local jobs. And much of this could be achieved by rebalancing the existing housing budget, which overwhelmingly supports building houses for sale. In the long run, investing in social housing offers great value for money,” she added.

 The Chartered Institute of Housing’s poll found:

  • 73% believe there is a housing crisis in Britain – and 67% think that the government can do something about the country’s housing problems
  • 57% think that the rising cost of housing will impact on them personally a great deal or a fair amount in the next five years – 56% say the same of ‘Brexit’
  • Overall 55% of the public, and 68% of renters, think housing has been discussed too little in Britain over the last few years
  • 52% of people support the building of new homes locally, up from 40% five years ago
  • 45% of private renters and 43% of social renters are concerned about their ability to pay rent at present (29% of mortgage holders are concerned about repayment)
  • Of those renting or living at home with their parents, 61% think they will never be able to afford to buy a home
  • More than a third of private renters, 38%, worry they’ll have to leave their local area because of the unaffordable cost of housing
  • 36% of people in London, whether renting or buying, are concerned they may have to move because of the cost of housing; nationally the figure is 22%
 Source: Ipsos/Mori and the CIH