Everyone appears to be agreed that there is a ‘housing crisis’ of which the main elements are considered to be the unaffordability of owner-occupation and market renting for many people and a shortage of housing that is especially pronounced in the case of social and affordable housing. Coupled with this there is increasing polarisation between parts of the United Kingdom where house values are high and rising and those where house values are stagnant or declining.
The housing crisis has very significant implications. It is clear that people need to be in decent and appropriate housing if they are to achieve their full potential as individuals and as members of society. The impact of poor housing on people’s physical and mental health, education, employment and training prospects are well documented. There is considerable evidence that children who grow up in poor housing enjoy worse life chances than those who grow up in good housing. Solving the housing crisis would therefore ‘unlock the door’ to addressing many other social and economic problems. House building can also promote economic development. It is therefore essential that the housing crisis is addressed.
This paper presents my personal views on how this crisis may be addressed. It includes sections on:
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