Teather: “We need a massive increase in the number of social homes”

Here are the facts, as reported by The Guardian based on this research by housing charity Shelter:

More than one million children in England now live in overcrowded homes, a rise of 54,000 in the last two years, a charity warned today. New figures released by Shelter highlight the record number of under-15-year-olds living in cramped conditions, with one in 10 children in overcrowded housing.

The figures, calculated from the government’s annual Survey of English Housing, reveal the problem is particularly acute in London and among those living in social housing. One in five (331,000) children in London and one fifth (520,000) of those in social rented housing live in cramped conditions, while social housing in London is worst hit. More than a third of children (234,000) living in social housing in the capital are in either overcrowded or seriously overcrowded homes.

Under the law, overcrowding is defined as two people of the opposite sex sleeping in the same room, unless they are a couple or at least one of them is under 10 years old.

Lib Dem shadow housing minister Sarah Teather gives her reaction to the report in The Guardian:

We have a chronic lack of family-sized social housing and unless the government addresses this shortage, many more children will be condemned to life in crowded housing. We need a massive increase in the number of social homes to stop more families suffering the misery of overcrowded and unsuitable housing.”

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  • Andrew Duffield 29th Jul '09 - 11:53pm

    No – we need LVT.
    A million empty properties would start returning to residential use, with rents falling as a result – making homes more affordable all round, permanently and immediately.

  • simon mcgrath 30th Jul '09 - 5:48am

    How does this fits with our plans to cut public expenditure?

  • Surely the cost of building would be covered by the rents ?

    What about buying up all of these developments in city centres, all of these flats and the like that litter cities like Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, and using them for social housing ?

  • Grammar Police 30th Jul '09 - 8:07am

    @ Andrew Duffield, why wouldn’t LVT just lead to the rent of existing rental properties rising as landlords pass off the increased cost on them (like they do with council tax)?

  • @Simon – just the question I was going to ask.

    We cannot go into a general election with the agenda outlined in “A Fresh Start” when our spokespeople continually demand more spending left, right and centre.

    @Meandyew – possibly but in the long term – but you’d need the capital now.

  • Andrew Duffield 30th Jul '09 - 3:11pm

    @ Grammar Police – LVT lowers rents (and sale prices) by bringing more properties onto the market. Market forces also ensure that the tax cannot be passed on, as virtually all economists agree. LVT is completely unavoidable and MUST be paid by the landlord. Since landlords already extract the maximum possible from their tenants, they cannot pass this cost on. Providing housing should not be a function of local government any more than providing food is. All government needs to do is collect unearned economic rent and redistribute it equitably.

  • “Since landlords already extract the maximum possible from their tenants, they cannot pass this cost on.”

    Hmmm…. Wanna bet? 🙂

    My landlord didn’t cut the rent when the poll tax came in. They did put it up when Council Tax came in (different people admitedly but I’ll bet all the money in my pockets at the moment that it didn’t go down!)

    Given the shortage of rented property in many areas relying on market forces to keep rents down seems a little optimistic even for the much vaunted superpowers of LVT :-).

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