November 21, 2018
Successive UK governments have failed to provide enough affordable homes for those who need them most, whilst definitely welcome, will the admirable pledges from politicians be enough to drive lasting change?
Despite the apparent public support for further investment, a stigma still exists around social housing in England. This stigma means that social housing is not getting the investment it deserves and that more people are going without safe and affordable homes. So why does social housing have such a poor reputation, and how can we fix it?
What the public thinks
A recent poll conducted by the Rethinking Social Housing Project found that 80% of people in England consider social housing to be of high importance. The reason cited by most participants was that social housing helps those on lower incomes who cannot afford to rent privately. Furthermore, 78% of participants agreed that social housing should be available to all people who cannot afford to rent privately, as well as to the more vulnerable members of our society.
Readdressing the role of social housing
Despite the promising results of this poll. There is still a gap between the public support for social housing changes and the level of government investment, which has led to a chronic shortage of affordable homes in the UK. Indeed, social housing in England tends to be used as a “safety net” for those most in need rather than an affordable alternative to private accommodation.
As such, perhaps we need to readdress the role of social housing to serve people on lower incomes better, presenting them with safe and affordable long-term housing options. The aforementioned survey pointed out that to reclaim the role of social housing as a “pillar of the society we want to be,” we should celebrate social housing like we do the NHS.
Where are we now?
At the conservative party conference in October 2018, the prime minister Theresa May announced that she would scrap the cap on council borrowing to fund social housing developments. This sends a strong message from the government for people to take social housing more seriously. Later in the month, the chancellor Philip Hammond also announced major Budget changes, declaring that the housing market “needs to be fixed”. Changes included a two-year extension on the Help to Buy Scheme (which was originally meant to end in 2021) and another £500 billion promised to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which local councils can apply to for help with building costs. All this suggests that things are moving in the right direction, but are they moving quickly enough?
metroSTOR is a firm believer in the power of social housing to improve the lives of UK residents. We all have the right to live in safe and decent homes, and a far greater quantity of affordable housing that meets higher standards will address that. Our products can help improve the appearance and perception of social housing so that people see it as something to celebrate, not an emergency measure.
Not only do our outdoor storage products make homes safer, but they also allow residents to take more pride in their homes and neighbourhoods. For more information, view our products or contact us on 08450 750760.