‘Levelling up’ impossible without more social housing

With more private renters relying on housing benefit to meet their housing costs, the homeless charity Shelter is calling on the Government to match its ‘levelling up’ infrastructure expenditure with investment in social housing.
 
‘Levelling up’ without added social housing provision could escalate the housing emergency in affected areas, Shelter’s report, Levelling Up with Social Housing, concludes.
Three key ‘levelling up’ locations were identified: Burnley, Plymouth and Sheffield. 
 
As the Government pours billions into new projects such as roads, train stations and new town centres, there is a risk that housing costs in these areas will increase. With this, people who are already struggling to cover their living costs, will be priced out of their areas, ultimately leading to a rise in homelessness, said Shelter. 
 
While there are more than 1.1m people on the social housing waiting list, there was a net loss of around 17,000 homes last year – thanks to demolitions and sales via Right-to-Buy. 
 
The charity has called on new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, to take action to ensure that local people will benefit in the growth that comes from levelling up and are not priced out of their own area. 
 
‘Levelling up’ may be impossible without a clear commitment to building social housing, said Shelter chief executive Polly Neate.
 
‘You cannot solve the housing emergency without building decent homes people can afford to live in. A tangible improvement in people’s housing situation would significantly boost living standards, increase opportunities and truly represent levelling up’.