IPPR: Planning and housing plans that ‘fall woefully short’ of what is needed

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A NEW research report by Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) revealed that coronavirus is intensifying housing affordability issues, with one in five now reporting fears about being able to afford rent or their mortgage in the future.

The report calls for major housing reforms including the introduction of an innovative ‘living rent’ based on income levels.

IPPR also calls for £15 billion to be invested in building environmentally friendly social homes a year.

This investment would fund the construction of 90,000 social rent and 30,000 living rent homes a year and generate up to £120 billion in additional economic activity, according to the think tank.

Jonathan Webb, IPPR Research Fellow, commented: “The Prime Minister’s announcements fall woefully short of what’s needed.

“It does seem deeply ironic that the £12 billion re-announced, as part of speech billed as ‘build, build, build’, actually represents a cut in the support for the delivery of affordable homes with the funding now being spread over 8 years rather than 5 years.

“Loosening planning restrictions so that more commercial properties can be converted to residential homes puts the future delivery of affordable homes at risk and will accelerate the hollowing out of communities and the decline of the high street.

“A proper blueprint for town centres is needed.

“Amongst these proposals, there is not enough focus on ensuring that new homes are genuinely affordable.

“Too many people are being pushed into accommodation they simply cannot afford.

“At the sharp end of this crisis, we have seen an unacceptable rise in homelessness and rough sleeping.”