The Government has announced its intention to bring forward a social housing Green Paper in 2018 which ‘will inform both government policy and the wider debate for many years to come’. The publication of the White Paper, Fixing our Broken Housing Market (2017), indicated that the Government would be more ‘flexible’ with the supply of housing in the social rented sector, departing from prior governments’ focus on starter homes and homeownership. In her party conference speech the Prime Minister went further, promising ‘a new generation of council homes’ in the parts of the country where the need is greatest.
This report, while focusing on the social housing sector in view of the forthcoming Green Paper, sets aside exploring the question of ‘supply’ as the subject of future CSJ Housing Commission research. Here, having travelled the country to consult with experts across the sector, and utilising a new analysis of Labour Force Survey data and a number of in-depth case studies, we emphasise that the current drive to boost supply must not distract from other important housing policy objectives.
Specifically, it should not come at the cost of decreased support and incentives for housing associations to run life-changing initiatives that help disadvantaged residents enter the labour market and gain greater independence.
Social housing at its best, we believe, should be the springboard to a better life.