Grantham Journal Column: Our future generation is at stake
In a bid to address issues identified, briefing sessions on housing in the East Midlands Council and South Kesteven District Council are taking place. Many in our communities reliant on social housing will shortly face a significantly more challenging future when it comes to security of their home. Affordability and availability are key concerns. There is a general shortage of both privately owned and rented homes. The reliance on the private sector to deliver housing is not working. In our district, even where the council has identified land for builders to use, development targets have not been met. There is a significant gap in the Government’s Housing Policy which emphasises home ownership. However, UK house prices and income levels mean at least a quarter of our population cannot afford to own their own home. Government policies are affecting those already living in, or, providing social housing. The Government is reducing incentives to provide social housing and has capped rents landlords can charge. As overheads increase, this puts financial strain on social housing providers. Council tenants are to see rent rises that will bring their costs in line with the private rented sector and secure tenancy for life is to be removed. This not only affects tenants but puts a huge burden on the council who will have to administer changes to tenancy agreements. The sale of council homes also outstrips the ability of local authorities to build replacement homes. New housing standards and regulations anticipated, though welcome, are likely to result in a significant loss of private rented housing accommodation as both public and private landlords potentially face large housing improvement bills and new rent caps. Other changes also affect tenants.