The Workers Union has told the government to get on and build more affordable housing. The announcement came as figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) revealed that a mere 57,644 affordable homes were constructed in England in 2019-2020.
The National Housing Federation had previously argued that nearly 145,000 affordable homes would need to be built each year to alleviate the shortage.
The government classes affordable housing as ‘social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market.’
However, a report issued by the House of Commons library has drawn attention to the lack of a nationally agreed definition of affordable housing, leading to a piece-meal approach to tackling the issue at a local level.
The Workers Union Says
The current housing crisis is a stain on our national conscience that successive governments seem determined to ignore. Despite making bold claims to the contrary, MHCLG have repeatedly shown themselves to be dilatory in dealing with what is fast becoming one of the major social problems of our time.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is toying with close-to-the-bone cuts to welfare – a move that is likely to push those on low-incomes deeper into the abyss.
For a country that’s still trying to grope its way towards the light, both these positions are as indefensible as they are incredible. Working people are the very lifeblood of our economic health. And yet already battered by stagnating wages, zero hours contracts and COVID, they are expected to absorb additional punishment from those who, until recently, had promised to represent their interests.
The bottom line is that affordable housing, fulfilling work and flexible career choices should not be the preserve of the middle classes; and cutting benefits should not be seen as a budget-saving masterstroke. With sufficient will and invention, it is possible to deal with these issues head on; but to get there the government needs to summon concerted, coordinated action that abandons the idea of making vulnerable people pay for the indulgences of others. And that means delivering a jobs, skills and housing package that reflects a genuine commitment to social justice.
The Workers Union – Fighting for social justice, fighting for you