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The role of Government grants for affordable housing provision

Those on lowest incomes face rising costs without new provision, long-term grant funding for new homes is needed now more than ever.

The rising inequalities associated with the lack of affordable housing are becoming hard to ignore. Whether a tenant or a homeowner, housing expenses take up a large part of household’s earning each month and hence the pressure rises on political leaders to do something about it.

The latest ONS data[1] reports that “households whose income is in the bottom 10% could expect to spend more than two years of disposable income on the upfront costs of an average house in London, the South East and the East of England” and “could expect to spend more than 70% of disposable household income on mortgage repayments for an average property in England”. On the rental market, households in the bottom 25% of the income distribution could expect to pay more than 30% of their income on the cost of renting an average property.

Double or quits report highlights the need for long-term grant funding

Building housing that is affordable is not straight forward. As with other types of social infrastructure, positive externalities may be hard to capture, and this justifies government subsidies into the supply of affordable housing. Government grant is essential to incentivise the provision of affordable housing tenures.

Since the introduction of the Housing Act 1988, the Government has largely provided grant on a short-term basis, mostly aligned with the political cycle. This short-term approach to grant funding leads to high levels of uncertainty and cyclicity on the housing market. I highlight this in a recent report called Double or Quits: The influence of longer-term grant funding on affordable housing supply. It was commissioned by the Consortium of Associations in the South East (CASE)[2], The National Housing Federation[3] and Shelter.

The report finds that extending the length of capital grant, all else equal, would add certainty in the development process and reduce development cycles. This in turn may lead to more housing provision.

Grant funded affordable housing has been on a downward trend

Double or quits starts off by conducting an extensive overview of the grant arrangements and outputs over the last three decades. Up until the late 1980s, local authorities were the main provider of affordable rental accommodation, when grant for affordable housing took a downward trend[S1] .
In the last three decades, housing associations, or so-called registered providers (RPs), have been the main players in the affordable housing provision. RPs use capital grant to bridge the shortfall between the total cost of construction including private borrowing costs and revenues from the, so called, cross-subsidy[4].

The Affordable Homes Programme (AHP), which has been the primary mechanism by which Government has funded new affordable homes since 2011, has provided funding on a three- to five-year basis. Table 1 shows the various capital grant schemes available since 1991. Each colour represents a grant cycle – from the beginning of the grant to its expiry. It is clear that towards the end of each grant programme, the output increases as the grant has to be spent by the cut-off date. 

Figure 1: Private Registered Providers’ Homes England / GLA funded affordable completions

Source: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), 2020.

Development for social rent has been on a rapid decline since 2011

Affordable housing completions can be subdivided into four main tenures, as defined by the government, social rent, affordable rent, shared ownership and intermediate rent. Figure 2 shows the affordable housing completions by tenure for England between 1991 and 2019. 2010-2011 marks an important shift in the provision of affordable housing with the introduction of a new tenure – affordable rent. Completions of social rent have rapidly declined since 2011, from around 40,000 units per year to less than 10,000.

They have been replaced by a new tenure[S2] . While the average grant per dwelling has been around £50,000 between 2006 and 2011, covering about 40% of total construction costs, it has dropped by more than half between 2011 and 2018. That led to housing associations delivering from around 50,000 social rent and shared ownership units in 2011 to less than 6,000 in 2019. The latest figures by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government report total affordable housing completions of 57,185 as of the end of 2019, half of which are affordable rent.

Figure 2: Affordable Housing Completions by Tenure for England

Source: MHCLG, 2020.

Significant rise through developer contributions obtained through Section 106 Agreements

Since around the same time as the decline in social rent completions, most of which are delivered by housing associations, in 2011, there has been a huge rise in the share of completions associated with Section 106 (S-106) planning agreements. This is evident in Figure 3 below.

Planning obligations under Section 106 were introduced in the Town and Country Planning Act of 1990. They are ‘developer contributions’, similar to highway contributions and the Community Infrastructure Levy, partially provided for affordable housing. This means that there has been a shift in the sourcing of funds for affordable housing provision. Now, only about 50% of the funds come from the grant provided by Homes England (HE) and Greater London Authority (GLA).

The reliance on private development to deliver affordable housing through S-106 contribution has been greater than ever. This has been enabled through the substitution of social rent by affordable rent and shared ownership. The striking picture depicted in Figure 3 makes clear the direct positive relationship between affordable housing supply and market housing supply. If, following a slow-down in economic growth, development activity drops by, i.e. 30%, the provision of shared ownership and affordable rent may drop by a similar proportion, since 30% less S-106 provisions may be made.   

Figure 3: Share of Completions by Tenure as Part of Section 106 (S106) Agreements

Source: MHCLG, 2020. Data for England.

Lack of predictability of grant big issue say developing housing associations

Given the trends described above and the reliance on the market to supply affordable housing, the report goes on to investigate how increasing the length of the housing grant to 10 years could affect the provision of affordable housing by conducting structured interviews with 13 Chief Executives or development directors of housing associations.

The lack of predictability in grant provision may lead to a more cautious approach by housing associations when it comes to building their development pipelines and limit the number of affordable homes they deliver. The pronounced peaks and troughs in delivery associated with the short grant cycles, with completions skewed towards the end of Programmes, have knock-on consequences for development costs, build-quality and the productivity of the housebuilding industry.

The report finds that a ten-year Affordable Homes Programmes would enable housing associations to purchase more sites without planning permission and take on larger and more complex sites. This may lead to reducing overall construction costs and passing the savings on to the homeowners or tenants.

Land-led development by housing associations would become more prevalent

Housing associations will be more likely to invest in their in-house development teams and intensify relationships with private developers, house builders, land managers and local authorities, including through joint ventures. This can lead to consolidation on the market and economies of scale in the production of new affordable housing.

Furthermore, a move to long-term funding would also increase housing associations’ ability to fulfil deliver affordable housing counter-cyclically. It would do so by accelerating the trend for greater levels of land-led development, whereby housing associations act as the lead developer on sites rather than acquiring homes from private developers via S106.

This would enable housing associations to build up longer and more consistent pipelines of development sites, which would help avoid some of the pronounced peaks and troughs in delivery that have been associated with previous Affordable Homes Programmes.

Resilient funding provisions for affordable housing should be a high priority for Government

Due to the strong dependence of housing development on economic cycles, as outlined above, the risk of taking a market approach to affordable housing is that affordable housing supply may become more volatile and pro-cyclical.

As we are experiencing in the current Covid-19 economic downturn, having a safe and affordable place to live is a key necessity for every human being. It is in periods of downturn, that households are more likely to lose their job, become evicted and struggle to afford housing. Having a resilient provision of affordable housing, for those most in need during downturns, should be high on the priority list of the Government.  

<strong><span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color">Dr Stanimira Milcheva</span></strong>
Dr Stanimira Milcheva

Dr Stanimira Milcheva is an associate professor in Real Estate and Infrastructure Finance at University College London. Stani’s research is broadly in the field of real estate and infrastructure finance. She also works on topics related to affordable housing.


[1] Office for National Statistics (2020), https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/articles/alternativemeasuresofhousingaffordability/financialyearending2018.

[2] CASE is a group of 10 major housing associations providing affordable homes in the South East of England. Collectively, members own more than 400,000 homes across the country, with over 140,000 in the South East. The members of CASE are: L&Q, Metropolitan Thames Valley, Moat, Optivo, Paradigm, Radian, Sovereign Housing Association, The Guinness Partnership, The Hyde Group and West Kent Housing Association.

[3] The National Housing Federation is the voice of housing associations in England. Its members provide 2.5 million homes for 6 million people.

[4] Cross-subsidy is model in which the profits from the sale of market housing are used for the construction of affordable housing, including tenures like social rent.

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Government must ensure no renter loses their home due to Covid-19

Today, the country is back in lockdown. Yet this time there is no Government action to help private renters stay in their homes. 2 million private renters are now claiming state support, but the money is not sufficient to cover average rents. Thousands more are ineligible. Eviction notices have been dropping through the letterboxes of renters who have struggled to keep up with payments, through no fault of their own.

For the first national lockdown, the Government did the right thing. They paused all court proceedings, meaning no evictions could take place. They have since extended notice periods, and requested that bailiffs do not enforce in areas of local lockdown, as well as over Christmas.

For this second lockdown, mortgage holidays and credit holidays have been extended, but courts continue to evict tenants.

Rather than facing lengthy and expensive court proceedings, thousands of renters will be packing up and searching for a new home, putting themselves and others at risk at a time when we are being asked by the government to stay at home. A month-long pause on bailiff action will be of little comfort.

As the number of Covid-19 cases, and deaths from the disease, are rising fast, it is essential that renters – especially those who are vulnerable or shielding – can remain safely in their homes. To do this, the Government must pause all eviction proceedings, and ban landlords from serving section 21 no-fault eviction notices or serving notices under section 8 for rent arrears relating to coronavirus.

The Government has done the right thing before. We call on Ministers to act swiftly, to ensure that no renter loses their home due to covid-19.

Yours Sincerely,

Alicia Kennedy, Generation Rent

Michelle Simpson, The Big Issue

Bridget Young, Nationwide Foundation

Anela Anwar, Z2K

Jacky Peacock, Advice 4 Renters

Portia Msimang, Renters Rights London

Roz Spencer, Safer Renting, Cambridge House

Alicia Kennedy
Alicia Kennedy

A leader in strategic planning and campaign organisation, Alicia has had a 25-year career operating at the highest level of national politics.

She worked with Prime Ministers, Cabinet members, hundreds of MPs, and thousands of Councillors and volunteers to deliver successful local and national election campaigns for the Labour Party. She was made a life peer in 2012 and is non-aligned.

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Deposit Barrier Must be Addressed to Widen Access to Home Ownership

With an average deposit of £21,000 required, the Government’s much heralded ‘First Homes’ will remain beyond the reach of a large number of aspiring homeowners. This includes the 61% of private renters who have no savings at all, those who are unable to rely on the bank of mum and dad and a high percentage of key workers whose incomes are not high enough to enable them to save.

To truly widen access to home ownership we must address the deposit barrier. Only then will we be able to open the housing ladder to those on lower incomes. The Government has proposed that a quarter of all new affordable homes will be First Homes: homes for first-time buyers sold at a discount of at least 30% of market value. Whilst the lower price will no doubt make these homes more affordable to some, there will remain a significant portion of aspiring homeowners for whom they will still be out of reach because they simply cannot raise the amount required for a deposit.

Based on the average price paid by a first-time buyer, even after the 30% discount a buyer under ‘First Homes’ would need to have saved £14,000 for a 10% deposit. With lenders dramatically reducing the number of mortgages available to buyers with small deposits it is now more realistic for a deposit of 15% or 20% to be required. This equates to £21,000 or £28,000 respectively, plus legal fees and moving costs. Factor in that just 10% of private renters aged 16-34 have savings of between £5,000 and £15,999 and this keeps the dream of home ownership beyond the reach of all but a small minority of young renters.

It’s not just the deposit which is a barrier but also the income needed for a mortgage. Lenders will generally offer four and a half times a buyer’s salary. Based on an average First Homes house costing £140,000, if the buyer did manage to save a 10% deposit they would need a mortgage of £126,000. This would require them to have a salary of £28,000. However, a newly qualified nurse starts on a salary of less than £25,000 and it would take 6-7 years’ experience until they had reached this salary threshold. What about the key workers in the care and retail sectors who have kept the country going through the pandemic on a minimum wage?

There is a home ownership model which provides a solution to these barriers. ‘Affordable rent to buy’ helps tenants to save up to buy the home they are renting. It is different from other rent to buy schemes as the tenants benefit from an affordable rent for a much longer period of up to 20 years compared to just 5, and when they are ready to buy they receive a gifted, 10% deposit which they do not have to repay.

The model does not require buyers to provide any upfront deposit to access the scheme. Instead, they undergo a financial assessment which looks at whether they will be likely to be able to buy in up to 20 years’ time. For example, for a newly qualified nurse the provider would see that within 10 years she or he would be able to afford the mortgage so they would be eligible for the scheme, even though they couldn’t afford a mortgage or deposit now. Based on their finances, they will choose to aim to buy at year 5, 10, 15 or 20. Rather than having to remain in private rented accommodation up until this time, the nurse would live in the home they know they will one day own and pay 80% market rent helping to save more each month towards a deposit with a long-term, secure tenancy.

A number of local authorities have already adopted the model. As well as helping more people onto the housing ladder, they are experiencing the model’s wider benefits including that it houses many families from the housing waiting list. 17% of the families benefitting from the scheme come from social rented homes that they no longer require freeing these up for those in greatest need. On top of this, the model is fully funded by pension funds and institutional investment so not using up any of the grant funding local authorities access from the Affordable Homes Programme to deliver homes for social rent.  

To truly help level up home ownership, the Government should ensure that models which more effectively address the barriers to home ownership are included alongside First Homes. This will encourage local authorities to consider adopting innovative models like this to address their local housing need and help make home-ownership a reality for many who otherwise can only dream of it.

<span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color"><strong>Steve Collins</strong></span>
Steve Collins

Chief Executive of Rentplus, the leading affordable rent to buy housing provider.
Steve has over 25 years’ experience in housing and development, both in private and public-sector organisations.

This includes working for the then Homes and Communities Agency where he had responsibility for the successful delivery of over 42 Government programmes with a combined value of c.£900m pa, aimed at accelerating the delivery of housing and public sector land across the country.

Steve has significant experience in the affordable housing sector where he managed the allocations of the affordable housing grant programme.

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Duncan Bowie Reviews ‘The Return of Squalor’

The Return of Squalor: An anthology from the first ten years of Red Brick blog by Steve Hilditch has been released today on its tenth anniversary. Duncan Bowie reflects below.

It seems more than a decade since Steve Hilditch started the Red Brick blog – ten years since the fall of the last Labour government and the end of John Healey’s all too brief term as Minister of State for Housing and Planning.  All the more to be regretted as John was the first Minister for many years from any political party who really understood what housing policy was all about. He didn’t spend time bemoaning council housing and council tenants, or go on about how everybody aspired to being a homeowner.

I suppose I have known Steve for nearly forty years – from the first days of the Labour Housing Group in the early 1980’s, when I was a young  councillor in Oxford and Steve was in Westminster leading the opposition to Lady Porter’s social cleansing housing policies, which eventually led to her being surcharged. Steve was working for Shelter when I was in the housing policy team at Lambeth council, in the days of Ted Knight and Matthew Warburton, when Margaret Hodge was running Islington, David Blunkett, Sheffield and Pat Hollis, Norwich – the days of the Campaign against the Housing Cuts.

The Red Brick blog does not of course go back that far. As Steve explains in his introduction to the anthology, it was the fall of the Labour government that was the trigger. We should also remind ourselves that in 2010, progressive commentary on housing policy was fairly limited. Shelter’s influential journal ROOF had ceased publication in 2003 – a very poor decision by Shelter’s management.  We had Housing Today and Inside Housing, but these journals were aimed primarily at professionals rather than campaigners.   The journals of the left of centre, such as the New Statesman and Progress, rarely showed much interest in housing, and we no longer had radical journals such as the Leveller and Community Action.

So, the Red Brick blog became an important source of commentary and critique, a reassurance that we were not alone. As a web-based blog, it also had and still has the advantage of being readily accessible, as contrasted with all those dusty boxes of old magazines in our attics or basements, for those of us fortunate enough to have archival space. If only politicians, civil servants and think tankers, had ready access to knowledge of the policies which had or had not worked in the past!  The past is too important to be the preserve of historians.

The archive could be called contemporary history. It is a reminder of the struggles of the last decade, and how appalling the last 10 years of housing policy have been but also, even more regrettably, of how little attention successive governments have paid to the arguments put forward in Red Brick and by other progressives, whether practitioners or academics. Having for the last decade chaired a progressive housing policy network, I am only too aware how housing has had far too little attention on the political left, including within the Labour Party.

Resolutions could be carried at successive Labour Party conferences and then the issue almost forgotten about until the next conference.  We have had a series of well-informed Commissions and parliamentary select committees, all reaching roughly the same conclusions, only to be ignored by Ministers, who instead have taken up the half-baked ideological driven nonsense of so-called think tanks such as Policy Exchange.

Spending four years arguing about Brexit has been an unhelpful diversion, as has been the factionalism of the last few years, when arguing for more council housing, and keeping the housing we had, became seen as the preserve of the adherents of Jeremy Corbyn. 

The Labour Housing Group has recently become more active. A few years ago, Steve instigated a London branch of LHG, which has sought to disseminate socialist policies for housing in the capital. Steve recently interviewed shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds for an LHG webinar. Housing, like education and the health service, should be a key issue for all progressives and socialists, irrespective of tendency.

Not only is decent housing central to our belief in there right of everybody to a decent quality of life, but it cannot be treated as a specialist subject, and we need to continue to argue that policies on taxation, planning and land are absolutely central to making both existing and new homes affordable by lower and middle- income households.

My best wishes to Steve in his retirement (or at least his retirement from blogging) and thanks to the comrades who have taken over responsibility for Red Brick. While Red Brick has always has had a link to the Labour Housing Group, a more formal relationship is welcome and contribute to the most welcome revival of the organisation and hopefully a reassertion of its critical role both within the Labour Party and beyond.

‘The Return of Squalor’ An anthology from the first ten years of Red Brick Blog is available to buy from Amazon from £6.99 on Kindle and £9.99 on Paperback. Any royalties will be donated to the Labour Housing Group.
<strong><span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color">Duncan Bowie</span></strong>
Duncan Bowie

Duncan Bowie is a semi-retired academic and strategic planner who has written a number of books on housing and planning.

He is a long-term member of the Labour Housing Group.

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The emergence of housing-with-care

If social care reform was a priority before Covid-19 hitting, then the pandemic has only heightened the urgent need for a new settlement. Of course, finding a funding solution is vital. The Health and Social Care Select Committee noted as much in their recommendation last week for an additional £7bn for social care, just as a “starting point” that would not address unmet care needs nor improve access to care. But funding alone will not transform our social care system in a way that meets the needs of an ageing population – no matter how much is spent.

That is because as well as deciding how social care is funded, we need to reflect on where social care is delivered. Currently, there are basically two choices in the UK: care at home or a care home. Both of these options are vital ones that will without question continue to play a key role in the provision of social care. Firstly, many people want to stay living in their own home for as long as possible for the independence that it brings, and so good-quality homecare is pivotal. And secondly, many people in the last few years of their life need a level of care that requires moving into a care home where they can receive 24/7 support.

But having these as the only care options for older people means we just cover both ends of what should be a wide and diverse spectrum. If an older person starts to consider whether the family home they have lived in for years is still right for them, and wants to move somewhere with a little more support and, if needed later down the line, care, should their only alternative really just be a care home?

Thankfully, other choices are starting to emerge in the form of “housing-with-care”. This middle option stands between care at home and care homes. It offers independence through older people renting or owning their own flat, while having 24/7 staff on site, the option of CQC-regulated social care if needed, and a wide range of communal services and facilities, from restaurants and bars through to gyms and activity rooms. It is often integrated with the wider area, attracting people of all ages to enjoy activities and events at what becomes a community hub.

The limited amount of housing-with-care in the UK has already shown itself to encourage an active, socially connected lifestyle and improve the health and wellbeing of residents – which reduces the need for GP and hospital visits and takes pressure off the NHS.

But “limited” really is the word when it comes to current housing-with-care provision. Compared to more than 450,000 care home beds, there are just 70,000 housing-with-care units. This means only 0.6% of over-65s have the opportunity to live in housing-with-care in the UK, whereas in countries like New Zealand, Australia and the US, the figure is at least 5-6%. That’s despite growing demand in the UK, and increasingly long waiting lists. Popularity is also rising among UK politicians, with 18 MPs and Peers signed up as official Parliamentary supporters for housing-with-care, and Labour’s Shadow Minister for Social Care, Liz Kendall MP, understood to be interested and supportive.

The key question for policymakers is: if funding alone is not going to transform social care in the way needed, what is? What policies will enable a greater diversity of social care settings to evolve, so that older people no longer have to choose between two extremes? Some key steps include clearly defining housing-with-care in the UK planning system (it is currently non-existent) so that it is easier to build, and introducing stronger consumer protection regulation for the sector. Work must also be done to ensure housing-with-care is affordable for all: two-thirds of current supply is affordable extra care, and this should be built upon.

But answering the policy question fully will require different Government departments to collaborate. Housing-with-care cuts across different departments: health and care integration likes with the Department of Health and Social Care, planning policy with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and consumer protection with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The best solution is a new Housing-with-Care Task Force that cements cross-government working to recommend the most appropriate policy changes.

None of this is to say that with an expanded sector everyone will want to live in housing-with-care. Just look at New Zealand, celebrated as a world leader in housing-with-care: still just 5.5% of over-65s live in this setting. Most older people will continue wanting to live in their own homes for as long as possible, which is why adaptations to make existing homes more age-friendly, and building more new homes fit for all ages, is vital. Care homes will always have an important place for those with high-level needs in the last years of life.

Increasing the diversity of our social care system is about complementing existing options. It is about giving older people more choice. While solving the social care funding crisis is crucial, we must also pay urgent attention to where social care is delivered. The Government can ensure a brighter future for older people if it acts now.

<strong><span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color">Sam Dalton</span></strong>
Sam Dalton

Sam is a policy and public affairs professional with expertise in housing, social care, social connection and loneliness. He works for the representative body for housing-with-care operators in the UK, ARCO, and previously led an inquiry on strengthening ties between young and old with the parliamentary group on social integration.

Sam has written for The Fabian Society and Left Foot Forward, as well as think tanks, social ventures and charities.

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Lest we forget the role of demand in housing affordability

For a significant number of young and low-income people housing affordability is getting worse. Housing affordability, or the lack thereof, is a concept widely understood by those living in the United Kingdom. Or is it?

On 8th July 2020, a ground-breaking new book was published by Bristol University Press. ‘Understanding Affordability: The Economics of Housing Markets’, by Professor Geoffrey Meen (Reading University) and Professor Christine Whitehead (LSE). The book sets out to unpick the complex forces exacerbating the endemic unaffordability of UK Housing. Thankfully, it offers insight and recommendations to improve our country’s dire situation.

Using ‘price-to-earning’ ratios and ‘housing expenditure’ indicators are not the right approach

When discussing housing affordability we often use ‘price-to-earnings’ ratios. Although questions remain about whether this metric is even at all suitable. This is because affordable ‘for whom’ is a question consisting of several interrelated elements, which beyond price should include physical adequacy and overcrowding.  

Some argue that using such metrics will not produce any significant improvement in affordability. This is primarily because social norms and demand-side behaviours we find play a crucial role in price determination. We must recognise demand remains a key factor in determining housing affordability.

Meen and Whitehead argue that looking at expenditure indicators alone can be highly misleading. Affordability concepts have their roots in 19th century studies of household budgets. For example, at the turn of the century the USA used the 25 per cent rule of thumb for affordability. This was based on one week’s pay for one week’s rent. Rules like this have informed both mortgage lending and housing policy alike.

More sophisticated approaches using the ‘Lorenz Curve’ tell us more about affordability

The book claims that more complex approaches recommended in academic literature have often been overlooked. This is particularly prevalent in housing policy arena and contemporary political discourse.

“We all know that this country does not have enough homes… the median house price in England is eight times higher than median gross annual earnings; in London, it is 12.3 times higher”

Minister for Housing, Christopher Pincher MP – March 2020

Source: Hansard

Price-to-earnings ratios sadly provide no information on the distribution of outcomes across household types and income levels. The authors are critical of how such flawed basic measures make it into planning policies. For this reason they say it is “worrying that it is still widely used”. Housing expenditure indicators such as rents and mortgage payments relative to incomes are also heavily criticised.

Ratios for example cannot distinguish between households with different income levels adequately. Are these metrics providing us with useful information to make meaningful policy recommendations? They suggest not. It is the distribution of incomes and wealth relative to the distribution of house prices that determines who can afford what. Not metrics that make use of averages such as the price-to-earnings ratio.

Research on affordability undertaken in the first chapter estimated affordability for First Time Buyers (FTBs). In it the authors based their research on variations of a ‘Lorenz Curve’. This approach uses a graphical distribution of the equality of affordability, which  easily shows what proportion of FTBs can afford what proportion of housing stock. A quick look on Hansard results in not a single reference to such terminology in the past 10 years.

Measures of inequality still require closer attention despite painting a clearer picture

Research in the book suggests the use of a Gini coefficient to account for regional inequality. This is an index that measures inequality created by Italian statistician Corrado Gini. We can compare how distribution of income in a society compares with another if everyone earned the same amount. A Gini coefficient of zero means everybody is equal. If we measure a Gini coefficient of 1 it shows a single person earning all the income.

Despite being technically sound, using Gini coefficient’s is still criticised by some. Summer and Cobham argue that it does not adequately capture changes in the top 10% of the income distribution, nor the bottom 40%. In turn, due to the under sensitivity of the measure at the extremes, they consider the Palma ratio more suitable. For example, if the richest 10% have five times more income than that of the bottom 40% then the Palma ratio would be 5.

When undertaking a more rigorous analytical approach we find housing affordability issues persist across the country, even in the North East

The Gini coefficient in the South East is 0.70, thus displaying a high degree of inequality. In this region a household with a median income would be unable to afford to purchase a property without paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs. There are no surprises there, but it does highlight where housing affordability is most acute.

By comparison existing homeowners who wish to move, even those in the lower income ranges, could afford to move to higher value properties without paying more than 30%. Some people in this group are effectively able to make hay much easier than those without accumulated equity.

On this more complex indicator, the research shows that to afford a property in the first decile (lowest 10%) of property prices in the South East, you still would need to earn over the median income. The difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ is demonstrably clearer when using such methods.

Yet in the North East, where inequality is much lower considering its Gini coefficient of 0.30, there are still significant proportions of households who cannot afford to buy properties in the lowest decile. This means that after considering the full distribution of incomes, rather than just averages, affordability for FTBs is not just a problem for the South of England.

Forward thinking Local Authorities should be reflecting on these new affordability indicators to assess the distributional consequences of policy changes. A key takeaway is to recognise that housing affordability is not just a South of England phenomenon.

When determining housing policy we need to better understand demand-side factors

The book reflects international comparisons of the average annual growth in real house prices between 1970 to 2015. Over this period Germany had -0.3% growth in house prices while the UK had more than +3.5%. Yet looking at the comparison relative to wages suggests there is more than meets the eye. In this context house price growth in Germany was -1.9%, while in the UK +1.3%.

Since 1970, German housing stock growth relative to incomes has proven relatively constant, suggesting supply is less of an issue. We think this because even after factoring in incomes relative house prices were even lower. This is despite the rate of growth in housing stock remaining constant.

In the UK levels of growth in housing stock relative to incomes have fallen by around 1.5% per annum. This means wages have been outpacing growth in housing stock. From a fundamental economic standpoint, it is no wonder house price growth has been going one way. Clearly we must acknowledge that worsening affordability and rises in real prices in the UK relative to Germany are as much a result of demand-side factors, as it is a lack of supply.

The British psyche of wanting to own one’s own home may play a pivotal role in explaining why we may have had different house price growth to that found in Germany. Our willingness to spend more on housing costs as our incomes increase, perhaps to achieve social norms such as home ownership, is alluded to as an explanatory factor.

The nature of UK housing demand means prices respond quickly to growth in incomes

Low-interest rates can exacerbate housing market price volatility. But it does not explain the long-run trend of increasing price-to-earnings ratios. Historically the UK’s housing stock has grown at a slower rate than income. Professor Meen and Professor Whitehead argue that price-to-earnings ratios can only be constant over the long-run if household incomes grow at the same rate as growth in housing stock.

We must acknowledge that we have a stronger responsiveness to demand pressures in the UK, than in say Germany. Understanding this can help us deconstruct some of the price drivers behind making affordability worse. It is difficult to tackle the issue of affordability with supply alone when the demand impact from incomes is so strong. As a result the UK is prone to faster deterioration of affordability.

Understanding this is a key factors of the counterargument to Ian Mulheirn’s claim there is no housing shortage. Mulheirn’s own paper had a peer review by this book’s author, namely Professor Geoff Meen. In the peer review he explained that it is neither population nor the number of households that affects demand; rather demand needs backing by income to impact house prices.

Surprisingly, Ian’s claims still seem to be gaining traction, most recently by Stephen Bush, who has become “increasingly persuaded” by Mulheirn’s claim that supply has not contributed to the growth in price-to-earnings ratio since the 1990s.

Conventional wisdom is that rises in real house prices reflect a shortage of homes and that the current planning system plays a significant role. The book also demonstrates that increases in housing supply can improve affordability, but that changes need to be large and sustained to produce a noticeable effect. They also acknowledge that a general expansion in private supply does not necessarily filter down to those on low incomes.

The UK demand drivers see income growth translate into higher prices more readily

Fundamentally Meen and Whitehead argue that income growth (and its distribution) reflects demand, whereas housing stock reflects supply and is affected by conditions and policy in land markets. Meen and Whitehead reaffirm that in making such statements, demand must be backed up by income to influence house prices.

In the UK, the demand drivers see income growth translate into higher demand for housing services, which is more likely to translate into owner occupation. This is a sector where the quality of housing stock is generally higher than in the private rented sector.

The book does not deny the unassailable fact we need more funding for social housing. But also acknowledges the total supply of land for housing has been severely restricted. This has led to increased land values off the back of strong demand-determined increases in house price, exacerbated, of course, by easy credit. It is after all the trend which investors and developers have followed all along.

We need to re-calibrate the balance of concerns when discussing supply, demand, and characteristics of investment behaviour

Some have pointed to investor behaviour, low cost of capital, and attitudes of housing being an investment asset as causes of our problems. However, while there is no doubt these have contributed to the trends in price in recent years, research in the book demonstrates that this alone cannot account for the strong growth rate of 3.5% per annum since 1969.

We must accept that rising real house prices are not only a question of supply and investment demand but that it is also very much related to consumption demand.

To stress the point, the authors do not say that supply and investment characteristics are unimportant, rather that there has been a distortion of the balance of concerns. We cannot say it is just supply, or solely interest rates, which has led to this crisis of affordability. Thus, whenever we are framing the narrative, we must not forget to consider demand.

If we keep this in mind when looking to use more sophisticated ways of measuring affordability, while avoiding shallow rule-of-thumb metrics, we may be able to truly understand exactly who in our housing market is being failed by Government. Only then will we be able to devise policy to address it.

<strong><span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color">Chris Worrall</span></strong>
Chris Worrall

Editor of Red Brick. He currently works in land acquisition for Guild Living. Chris currently sits as a Non-Executive Director of Housing for Women and is a member of the Labour Housing Group Executive Committee.

Previously Investment and Finance Manager at both Quintain and Thor Equities. Chris has expertise in developing new residential investment strategies, real estate development finance, and the investment and development of affordable housing. He writes in a personal capacity.

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Good luck to the Green Belt campaigners

Rochdale council, along with nine other councils that make up Greater Manchester, has embarked on an ambitious strategy to plan the future development needs of the whole city region. It is not without its problems and controversies, but Faisal says that is nothing to the devastating impact the Government’s Planning White Paper will have on all our local communities.

Rochdale is part of Greater Manchester, a conurbation of more than three million people. Civic leaders there are grappling with the hugely complicated problem of deciding how many new homes we need to build to meet future demand, and even more controversial, where to build them.

The fancy name of the Greater Manchester Spatial Strategy (GMSF) aims to set out our housing and industry needs for the next 20 years. Our local leaders have been debating and postponing the issue for what seems like an age. Looking that far ahead seems more akin to crystal ball gazing rather than detailed planning calculations and projections.

Debate has led to several “Save Our Greenbelt” campaigns: residents worried about the bulldozers tearing up their local countryside walks, green spaces, and beauty spots. I say good luck to them. There is nothing more worrying than the matter being left to planning officers and housing developers carving up Greater Manchester’s planning map.

Who else will speak up for our precious green belt but those who enjoy and value it? Tens of thousands have made their views known through public consultations – and we are to have yet another round starting this Autumn.

But there is one thing that should worry every single resident of Greater Manchester, never mind every environmental campaigner, that will have a huge impact on future planning decisions for years to come.

Government recently published a planning white paper which proposes reform of the planning system in England. The proposals will see councils lose control of important planning decisions. 

The Bill says it would “streamline” the planning process, cut red tape and make it easier to get new homes for local communities built. But, in fact, it would lead to developments going ahead without any proper public scrutiny and against the wishes of local people.

The Government’s plans mean that areas would be earmarked for development and then there would be no need for planning permission to be granted by local councils. What is worse, it will be using algorithms to decide how many and where up to 300,000 new homes a year will be built.  We all know how successful these computer-led diktats were in setting A-level results.

It will result in little control over developments, overriding local knowledge and circumstances, with local people having no say over developments. The Government has also stated that developments of 50 homes or less would not have to provide any affordable housing. I have been a local Councillor for a long time, and I do not ever recall ever reading a Government report which has annoyed and terrified me more than this one.

Local communities deserve the power to run its own planning system. Planning committees should not be threatened with having its powers taken away. There has been a huge amount of criticism of these draconian proposals all over the country, but the Government is not listening. They want to help their developer friends by sweeping away the local restrictions that keep them under some control.

No parcel of land will be safe from the threat of development, and with fewer affordable homes, many will be too expensive for local families. The Housing Minister Christopher Pincher publicly confirmed that he is looking to loosen restrictions in planning law, to make it easier to push through housing schemes.

And the Prime Minister meanwhile has stated he will be bringing forward the ‘most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the Second World War. The planning system already favours the developers over communities, and any further loosening of planning laws would be a disaster for towns and cities right across the country.

At the root of all this is local democracy. Local communities and their elected councillors should have the ability to make their own decisions based on local needs. What happens in our local planning committees is extremely important and should be vigorously defended. I will be continuing to campaign for greater local control and I hope our Green Belt campaigners will be doing the same.

People must have the opportunity to make their views known loud and clear, however uncomfortable it is for politicians, whether in the town hall or Whitehall. You have the ultimate power to turn us out. You cannot do that with faceless civil servants and planning inspectors who will be running the show in the future. Not to mention their dreaded computer programmes.

<strong><span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color">Faisal Rana</span></strong>
Faisal Rana

Faisal Rana is a local councillor in Rochdale and sits on the planning committee.

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Labour’s Planning Commission and the Planning White Paper Compared

Similar analysis different outcomes

During the latter stages of the previous government a Planning White Paper was expected almost on a daily basis. Like many other policy initiatives it fell foul of the Brexit stranglehold on parliament. It was partly to ensure that Labour had a response to the long expected White Paper that it launched a Planning Commission in September 2018 to develop a new suite of planning policies in advance of a General Election then expected to be in 2022.

Labour’s planning proposals made it into the 2019 manifesto but as we know Labour did not make it to government. Nevertheless, the Planning Commission’s suggested reforms sit as a powerful antidote to the view of planning and what it can achieve set out in the Government’s White Paper. Having said that the similarity in some of the analysis of what needs to change is striking.

Labour’s recommendations for greater use of digitisation in the planning system to improve accessibility and engagement with planning and the need for more investment in skills and training for planners are mentioned in the White Paper proposals.

Likewise, the need for reform of the Community Infrastructure Levy and putting in place a nationally agreed method of assessing housing need also are also reflected in both documents. Similarly, there is cross-party agreement that the design and quality of what is built need to be improved. There is also widespread agreement that local plan making needs to be simplified, speeded up and subject to statutory time limits.

However, what is massively different is the policy agenda that is envisioned by Labour and the Conservatives to achieve long lasting change to our neighbourhoods, regions and nation, and the values that need to underpin our planning system to achieve development fit for the 21st century and beyond.

Since 2010 the blame for the government’s inability to deliver on housing targets including those for affordable housing was laid at the door of planning even though the numbers of new houses approved through the planning system but not actually built rose year on year.

Alongside this, constant deregulation of planning, greater use of permitted development, sanctions against planning authorities for having too many appeals, contracted out planning services and too many local authorities without local plans in place led to an increasingly undemocratised, technically focused planning system that was increasingly at the mercy of speculators and where plan making and the visionary underpinnings of planning took a back seat.

Communities for the most part felt that planning was done to them and their views on planning were increasingly ignored or bypassed. Place making if it happened at all was the result of developers, planners and residents working together, despite the constraints of the system, to build or rebuild better communities.

And it was the need to build and rebuild strong and sustainable communities that was the starting point for Labour’s Planning Commission. We wanted place making to be at the heart of a planning system that would be value based to tackle inequality and address climate change.

The Labour Commission included representatives from key planning agencies and stakeholder groups and meetings of the Commission were supplemented by regional events with residents, developers and local authorities. The strong evidence base the Commission established documented the democratic deficit and technocratic complexity at the heart England’s planning system and led to proposals for radical change most notably in the need to build good quality homes with supporting infrastructure in genuinely sustainable neighbourhoods.

Thus, Labour’s proposals include recommendations for a new system of building standards to address quality, climate change and safety issues, and suggest putting in place new principles and guidance as well as national standards to achieve high quality design. It argues for a review of permitted development with planning permission being reinstated in most cases.

Labour wanted to see the relationship between what happens in local communities, their wider regions and the country as a whole reflected in a connected planning system with community, local, regional and national planning tiers so that infrastructure, jobs, local services and leisure and cultural facilities could be planned at the right spatial level. This would not only enable people to be properly housed it would facilitate people travelling safely to work with a transformation in greater use of cycles and public transport.

All neighbourhoods would be planned to have a high quality of life with the services they need to promote well-being on their doorstep and with the heritage of the built environment and natural environment protected and where possible enhanced. We wanted to achieve this by giving residents the ability to plan their communities alongside planning professionals who would give advice and would liaise between levels of the planning system.

That the Government’s White Paper says nothing about how to achieve well-being or equity through the planning system is perhaps not a surprise. What is a surprise is how little is said about land availability except for arguing that greater certainty needs to be given by the planning system to enable developers to come forward.

In contrast Labour suggested a radical approach to bringing more land forward by proposing setting up Public Development Corporations with the power to purchase, sell, and develop land to assist with the making and remaking of communities, alongside greater use of a simplified CPO system if necessary.

Labour also proposed introducing a land value capture system that would capture uplift for current and future communities. And Labour sees the  greenbelt not as a land set in aspic but land to be used as part of climate change mitigation and that can help reduce health inequalities.

The Government has argued for change too but their proposals for a new zonal system do little to match the rhetoric expressed in much of the White Paper and will depend on the type of zonal system adopted as well as the details of the plan that goes alongside it. It could result in a development straight jacket without measures to support delivery and the high quality development the Government says it wants to see. Likewise the proposal to support permitted development that is replicable could reduce quality rather than improving it.

Both of these proposals also run the risk of further denuding democratic oversight of, and involvement in, planning. There is no acknowledgement in the White Paper apart from keeping some sort of neighbourhood planning of the need to have citizens actively engaged in planning rather that simply being consulted (and then often ignored) about it.

Labour sought to address the need for active participation by involving  residents in the  first tier of planning – producing their community plan and making it the building block of the whole planning system.

The conclusion of TCPA is that the White Paper does not provide a single new right for community participation or a single new opportunity for democratic involvement in planning. For that reason alone the government should be asked to think again or come back with much more detail on how they will actually achieve the good quality place-making they say they want but cannot deliver through the proposals outlined so far.

<strong><span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color">Roberta Blackman-Woods</span></strong>
Roberta Blackman-Woods

Roberta Blackman-Woods is the former MP for the City of Durham (2005 to 2019) and was the Shadow Minister for Planning until November 2019.

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Socialist housing policies for a recovering Britain

Labour Housing Group is determined to lead the renewed debate about housing policies that can take us towards recovery. Our online housing conference this Saturday October 3rd (10am-1pm) aims to air the many issues that have come to the fore in the last 8 months as never before, and to make sure that housing comes to and stays at the top of the political agenda when we emerge from the pandemic. As our piece in Labour List yesterday highlights, now is the time to build socialist housing policies for a recovering Britain.

Making a reality of a decent home for all

We were all been concerned about people sleeping on the streets in lockdown, and pleased to see some recognition coming from the Government that this could not continue. Yet despite the short term arrangements to help street homeless people showing what can be done when there is a strategy backed by finance and determination, as in the Everyone In policy, we are now worrying again about homelessness: now that the eviction moratorium has ended, the prediction of large numbers of evictions (legal and illegal too) has to be addressed. The fundamental debate about tenants’ rights must be a key part of our plan for recovery and, in time, for a socialist Britain. Our speakers will look at the need for enforcement as well as how to make private rented homes fit to live in and managed well.

We also need to think longer term about the housing policies that are essential to make an economic and social recovery possible.  Our session on design, quality and sustainability, and our keynote speech from the Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, will focus our minds on how to develop green homes, as economically as possible. We will also look at housing policies to suit all parts of the country.

Current Tory disasters, in progress or planned, provide easy clues about how we could do better.  The disaster of Grenfell three years ago has led to a new crisis for social landlords needing to replace dangerous cladding, and a new generation of leaseholders facing penury. We should work closely with newly emerging leaseholder groups to develop new policies based on ending this feudal system. Speakers will show how the Planning White Paper, another catastrophe in the making, would reduce public involvement in planning to very low levels whilst running roughshod through systems for assessing where new housing is needed. A Labour alternative would be attractive to people all round the country.

Racial disparities and inequalities in housing provision have impacted on BAME communities, but this is not focused often enough on within the movement. Councillors and activists from around the country will draw out what needs to change here.

Labour councils are working hard to build council homes in many areas. Sharing ideas about how this can be done in today’s climate, and working towards our aim of meeting housing needs through public provision once more, is a key part of any socialist housing conversation.

Clearly, how we fund the building, refurbishment, and greening of new – private and council homes – is an essential element of Labour policy. Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor will be interviewed by Steve Hilditch, one of the founders of Labour Housing Group, who will be drawing out Anneliese’s thoughts on how a future Labour government could improve the operation of the housing market, how we should prioritise public investment in new and greener homes, and whether we can switch spending from ‘benefits to bricks’.

Most of the morning will be spent in workshops, with councillors, front bench and back bench MPs, academics, campaigners, and lawyers leading the way.

The conference has been organised in partnership with Labour Campaign for Council Housing, the SHOUT campaign for social housing, and the National Leasehold Campaign, as well as our front bench housing team.

We hope to welcome you to it too.

You can see more about the conference here and register here.
This event has now taken place.
Catch up below:
<span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color"><strong>Sheila Spencer</strong></span>
Sheila Spencer

Sheila has been Secretary of the Labour Housing Group (LHG) since 2018, having re-joined LHG Executive after a gap of many years.

She believes that housing is a critical issue across the country and that Labour has great housing policies – but many people, including many members, do not yet know how Labour intends to solve the current housing crisis when next in power.

Sheila wants to see Labour in the forefront of people’s minds when they consider what needs to change. She has worked all her life in housing – in the areas of homelessness, supported housing and housing need. Sheila was a city councillor in Newcastle and is now retired.

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Levelling-up the land market under Labour

On the 6th August 2020 the Conservative Government announced a change to the standard method for calculating the housing need requirement. The debate had up until this point shifted from the ‘numbers’ question. Towards the ‘how’ and ‘where’. Now the proposed new method seeks to achieve a ‘fair share’ under Boris Johnson’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda. But is this the right approach?

The Government’s housing targets have come under fire for contradicting its ‘levelling-up’ agenda.

Recent claims by the Local Government Association (LGA) argue the proposed new standard method would seriously jeopardise the Government’s ‘levelling -up’ agenda.

While the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said “the last thing we need is another ‘mutant algorithm’ – this time deciding where development takes place”. We have seen from the exams fiasco the damage that can be caused by erroneous calculations.

Backlash has also come from within the Conservatives. Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough (Leicestershire), claims “it would be quite difficult to explain to Conservative voters why they should take more housing in their areas to allow large Labour-run cities nearby to continue to stagnate rather than regenerate”. Neil had written for Conservative Home. He argued the new formula would “level down our cities, not level up”. Yet we know large parts of existing suburbs in England and Wales are providing almost no new homes. Tory shires staying untouched? Evidently delusional.

Analysis by the LGA found under the new formula lower growth in housing stock would be expected in Northern regions. London on the other hand would see a 161% rise in homes built. An increase of 57% is expected in the South East. 39% in the South West. For those in the North East proposed targets are 28% lower. While 8% lower in the North West.

On average the house price-to-earnings ratio across the UK stands at 10.7. However, price-to-earnings ratios are still below their previous 2007 peaks in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, and Wales. In London, the price-to-earnings ratio has worsened by over 50% since 2008. Similarly, the South East, South West, East, and the East and West Midlands have all surpassed their Pre-Covid19 crisis peak. Surely adopting this approach makes sense for these targets to be reduced. Or does it?

On new projections the housing targets are well below what we really need, and fall short in basic economic terms.

On the new proposed standard method it is estimated to be 337,000 – so an annual increase of 1.4%. Currently the Tory housebuilding target of 300,000 accounts for an annual increase of 1.2%. Compared with the two decades between 1931 and 1951 housing stock grew on average at 2.85% per year.

Labour should be attacking the Tories over their lack of ambition. To achieve the levelling-up agenda we need greater supply responsiveness to house prices and housing stock to grow faster than incomes. Only then will we achieve a less volatile housing market. But how could we achieve this?

The Bank of England targets inflation at 2%. As at April 2019 the total number of dwellings was 24.4 million. In effect to ensure growth in housing stock exceeds growth in full-time earnings. Thus, we should be setting the national target closer to 490,000. Somewhat 45% higher than the Tories current level. If we achieved the growth in housing stock at rates seen between 1931 and 1951 this figure would be closer to 696,000.

The average house price-to-income ratio now stands at a whopping 18 times the average salary in London. In London housing supply targets have either been based on land capacity. As seen in the recent Draft London Plan. Or in times gone (and still to date) by projections based on ‘nonsense demographics’.

It makes sense for the Government to require those areas that are seeing the most demand. And demonstrably so in areas that have increasingly high price-to-earnings ratios. Even the North West, North East, and Wales have seen increases in price-to-earnings ratios from their Pre-Covid19 crisis trough. Housing supply should remain an important policy concern for all when considering the ‘levelling-up’ agenda.

It is no surprise why house prices have rocketed in London, the growth in housing stock has not exceeded incomes.

For the period 2009 to 2019 housing in London stock grew by merely 8.6% in aggregate (0.8% p.a.). While full-time earnings grew at 16.9% (1.6%). Almost double the rate. A ten-year target set at the anticipated growth rate in wages, using the inflation rate as a proxy, would see London housing stock need to grow by 2% p.a. or 21.9% in aggregate.

By the end of 2019 London the total number of dwellings across all the tenures reached 3.6 million. London would need 786,700 net additional stock delivered over the following decade. Sadiq Khan would need to increase his original annual target from 65,000 homes per year up to 78,700. This would see London take its fair share of the levelling-up agenda.

London has not seen such levels built, largely by the private sector may I add, since 1935. This is a time that pre-dates the permanent protection of London’s antigrowth local land regulation, namely the ‘Green Belt’. And the tortuous Town and Country Planning Act, which has poisoned London’s well of supply ever since.

Figure 1: New build homes in Greater London, 1871 to 2018
Source: GLA, Housing in London 2019

Sadiq had his own target reduced by the naysayers. An independent review said his small-site target was unachievable. This reduced the original target of 65,000 to 52,000. Still more than Boris Johnson’s 41,882. Yet considerably lower than the proposed new standard method of 93,532. A figure London has never built in its history.

Targets set under the Housing Delivery Test (HDT) over the three years between 2016 to 2019 required one home for every 80 residents on average. Or 38,400 annually. Output would need to increase by 200% to increase housing stock at the same pace as income to hit a target of 78,700. Or 243% to hit the levels set out using the proposed new standard method.

The race to the bottom of build cost and quality is a symptom of a broken land market.

The endemic cladding scandal has left over 3 million in worthless flats. Economic incentives of landowners under the current planning system have led to economic growth and value from cost cutting measures absorbed by land values. The result? A race to the bottom on build quality to pay the highest price.

Our land market has been so constrained that the economic interests driven by the current planning system has seen build quality deteriorate. Literally to the point where basic fire safety has too often become hard to achieve.

Housing targets under the Tories remain a tabula rasa, only Labour has the ambition to level up our nation.

Levelling-up the land market requires planning reform and appropriate housing targets. And densifying cities. Only then will we re-balance the see-saw between land values and build quality. Liberal socialist John Rawls has advocated a move from a broken system of welfare state capitalism, to a property-owning democracy. Where everyone can participate in the productivity gains of a nation.

If every British citizen had a stake in a sizeable amount of property, access to capital and the productive decisions of society, then we can put power in the hands of the many and not the few. In China, the homeownership rate is as high as 90%. We should try to emulate this ambition. And while no silver bullet, revolutionary rent-to-buy schemes such as Rentplus could provide one such solution.

The levelling-up agenda will require a significant amount of homes at social rent levels for those on low-incomes. Particularly in big cities. Labour needs to ensure housing targets are driven on the premise we need to make homes more affordable. This can only be achieved by committing to more supply. And a huge, huge amount of it.

<strong><span class="has-inline-color has-accent-color">Chris Worrall</span></strong>
Chris Worrall

Editor of Red Brick. He currently works in land acquisition for Guild Living. Chris currently sits as a Non-Executive Director of Housing for Women and is a member of the Labour Housing Group Executive Committee.

Previously Investment and Finance Manager at both Quintain and Thor Equities. Chris has expertise in developing new residential investment strategies, real estate development finance, and the investment and development of affordable housing. He writes in a personal capacity.