From Daily Mirror: The number of new social rent homes has been slashed by more than 200,000 since the Tories came to power, new figures reveal.
From The Observer: The Tory government is breaching fundamental obligations to protect its citizens’ right to life by failing to address the systemic problems that led to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the UK’s human rights watchdog has warned.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) outlining its concerns about the continued use of combustible cladding in existing buildings and advising the department of its responsibilities under human rights laws to protect lives.
The watchdog has yet to receive a response from the department, which in June launched a consultation into the use of cladding, believed to be a key factor in the Grenfell disaster.
The commission said it was concerned that the consultation omits any reference to the government’s duty to protect lives under article 2 of the European convention on human rights and schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998.
From Daily Mirror: First-time buyers have been left high and dry after the number of cheaper homes plunged under the Tories. Just 7,245 new affordable homes to buy were funded by the government last year – down from 20,298 in 2009/10.
From The Guardian: Theresa May is facing pressure from Conservative council leaders to invest more in low-cost rented homes, amid growing concern at local authority level that not enough is being done to fix Britain’s housing crisis.
The prime minister promised £2bn last year for a new generation of council houses and affordable homes for rent, but 71% of senior councillors from her party told a poll by Survation they were worried this would not be enough to meet the needs of their constituents.
Another report has found that parents are likely to be lending less money to help their children on to the property ladder this year, owing to constrained household budgets since the EU referendum.
Independent analysis suggests current construction of affordable housing falls short of the requirements by about 30,000 homes per year. Joseph Rowntree said it was calling on the government to deliver at least 80,000 low-cost rented homes a year in order to make the housing market work for more people.
Campbell Robb, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Homelessness and poverty should have no place in our society. However, right now millions of people are locked out of being able to achieve a decent standard of living due to crippling rents.”
From Left Foot Forward: Figures on the state of the home ownership market in England, published by the Office of National Statistics, reveal rapidly worsening affordability problems, putting buying a home beyond most young people.
The affordability ratio calculated by ONS shows that the average house price was 7.9 times average annual earnings in 2017 – the largest ever recorded and more than double that of 1997.
To achieve levels of affordability last seen two decades ago – the average house price in 1997 being 3.5 times average earnings – would require that today’s average earnings would need to double to almost £66,000 annually.
Put another way, average earnings would have to increase by around 3% every year for the next four decades, while the average house price stayed constant at today’s level, for 1997 levels of affordability to be reached once more.
From Morning Star: Labour-run councils are outbuilding their Tory counterparts by an average of more than 1,300 new homes each since the Tories took power in 2010, new research released by Labour revealed yesterday.
On average, 2,464 new homes were started in Conservative-led council areas between 2010 and 2017.
But the House of Commons Library analysis found that Labour councils started building 3,791 homes on average — 54 per cent more than Conservative councils.
The figures also show that, despite swingeing Tory cuts in the name of austerity and heavy-handed restrictions, Labour councils built an average of 93 council homes, almost five times as many as Conservative-run councils.
From Daily Mirror: A top Tory councillor has issued a devastating verdict on Theresa May’s plans to solve the housing crisis.
From The Independent: Almost a quarter of a million social homes in England for residents on low incomes will have been lost under the Conservatives by 2020, new figures have revealed.
From The Independent: Nearly 130,000 children in Britain will wake up homeless and in temporary accommodation this Christmas as child homelessness reaches a 10-year high, new research shows.
The head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing writes in the Guardian: “A year on from the introduction of the lower benefit cap, its abiding legacy is to push people closer to homelessness.
“The cap, introduced on 7 November 2016, reduced the total amount any family can receive in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital, leaving families with significant shortfalls between the benefits they get and the cost of their housing.
“In our most recent research we spoke to 18 families with capped benefit across the UK and each time we heard a familiar story – one of stress, struggle and a daily fight to remain in their home.
“Half of those families said they had gone without food, fuel or were otherwise in debt as a result of the cut. Among a raft of other hardships a third said they had been forced to use food banks.”
From The Independent: The number of young adults living with their parents has reached an all-time high, with more than a quarter of people aged 20 to 34 still living at home, new figures have revealed.
From Daily Telegraph: A legal loophole which allows developers to build fewer affordable homes has contributed to a big shortfall in such properties, according to new research by Shelter.
From the Guardian: Councils have said the Tory government is failing to release funds to improve the fire safety of dozens of tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower disaster despite promising that a lack of financial resources should not stand in the way of essential works.
Editorial comment in the Guardian: “The National Audit Office report into homelessness lays bare the legacy of human waste caused by the callous indifference and intellectual vacuity of Compassionate Conservatism, a Tory creed – promoted by David Cameron – where responsibility shifted from the state to individuals, families and communities. Read more
From The Independent: The extent of the crisis facing Britain’s private renters is revealed today as new analysis shows millions of tenants are living in homes that contain dangerous safety hazards and have been deemed unfit for habitation under Government standards. 29% of homes rented from private landlords fail to meet the national Decent Homes Standard.
Channel 4 News video: Watch Tory member of the London Assembly for West Central, Tony Devenish, literally claim that new blocks of housing being bought up en masse by overseas billionaire investors benefits us all, and that there’s no alternative.
From The Guardian: A record number of renters are being evicted from their homes, with more than 100 tenants a day losing the roof over their head, according to a shocking analysis of the nation’s housing crisis. The spiralling costs of renting a property and a long-running freeze to housing benefit are being blamed for the rising number of evictions among Britain’s growing army of tenants.
More than 40,000 tenants in England were evicted in 2015, according to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). It is an increase of a third since 2003 and the highest level recorded. The research appears to confirm fears that a mixture of rising costs and falling state support would lead to a rise in people being forced out of their homes. It will raise concerns that even those in work are struggling to pay their rent.
High numbers of “no-fault” evictions by private landlords is driving the increase. More than 80% of the extra evictions had occurred under a Section 21 notice, which gives a tenant two months to leave. The landlord does not have to give a reason and there does not need to be any wrongdoing on the part of the tenant.
From The Guardian: One in seven tenants privately renting from a landlord is paying more than half of their income in rent, compared with just 2% of homeowners who pay more than half their income on their mortgage, according to new research.
The Local Government Association, which compiled the figures, said high rents were preventing young adults from saving up for a deposit for a home of their own. It said the average deposit now cost 71% of a first-time buyer’s annual income.
The research also found that four out of 10 private tenants spend more than 30% of their pay on rent, compared with only 11% of those with a mortgage.
Councillor Judith Blake, LGA housing spokesman, said: “When one in seven private renters is spending half their income on rent, it’s no wonder we have a rental logjam – with a shortage of homes with genuinely affordable rent, and young people struggling to have enough income left over to save for a deposit
From The Independent: The number of new government-funded houses built for social rent each year has plummeted by 97 per cent since the Conservatives took office in 2010, official statistics have shown. In the same period the total number of affordable homes built with government money more than halved – from 55,909 to 27,792.
From The Guardian: Material used in the cladding that covered Grenfell Tower was the cheaper, more flammable version of the two available options, an investigation of the supply chain has confirmed.
Manufacturers Omnis had been asked [by Tory-run Kensington and Chelsea to supply Reynobond PE cladding, which is £2 cheaper per square metre than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for “fire resistant” to the companies that worked on refurbishing Grenfell Tower.