Analysis of government data shows that social rent home losses have surpassed 250,000 in a decade

Shelter has repeated its call for the next government to build 90,000 social rented  homes per year over 10 years, as its analysis of government data shows that the number of the ternure in England fell by more than a quarter of a million between 2013 and 2023.

Polly Neate

Source: Shelter

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter

The charity’s analysis of government data shows that between April 2013 and April 2023, the number of social housing homes owned by councils and housing associations in England fell by 260,464 units.

In its 2010 spending review, the coalition government announced a reduction in England’s housing budget from £8.4bn over the previous three years to £4.4bn over the following four years.

The cuts reduced capital funding for overall social homes by two-thirds. Funds were then redirected to an affordable rent programme, which allowed rents to be set at up to 80% of market rates.

Between 2022 and 2023, 11,400 new social rented homes were delivered, however, there was a net loss of 11,700 social homes.

This included 19,000 homes lost through sales such as Right to Buy, 3,000 demolished, and an additional 1,000 converted from social rent to affordable rent.

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The number of social rent homes lost through sales, demolitions and conversions to affordable rent exceeds the number of new social homes built and acquired.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “We are seeing more social housing being sold off or demolished than built, despite the staggering 1.3 million households stuck on social housing waiting lists in desperate need of a genuinely affordable home.

Neate added: “Without enough social housing, every other area in the housing system bottlenecks. As a result, the country is hitting one shameful record after the next with 145,800 children homeless in temporary accommodation, the highest number ever, private rents at record highs and rising evictions. We know that social housing is secure and affordable by design, and it comes with many benefits that enable people to live better lives, but there’s nowhere near enough of it.

“There is no time to waste. Now that a General Election has been called, political parties of all stripes must commit to building genuinely affordable social homes - 90,000 a year over ten years is the only way to end the housing emergency for good.”