Councils call on government to do more to tackle affordable housing

  • 72% of councils think the NPPF hinders building of affordable housing
  • 96% of councils described their need for affordable housing as severe or moderate
  • 7% think starter homes will help address affordable housing 

A report on housing need in the UK published today by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) calls for urgent Government action to deliver the homes needed in the UK.

In Homes for all: Ensuring councils can deliver the homes we need, 72% of councils think that the viability test laid out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has hindered their ability to build social and affordable housing. 11% of councils think that the viability test will provide the numbers that we need to tackle the biggest housing crisis of a generation – an increase of 19% compared to a year ago.

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the TCPA said:

“With 96% of councils describing their need for affordable homes as severe or moderate, and 89% worried that the extension of Right to Buy will lead to less affordable homes, it is clear that there is a real crisis.

“Councils are concerned that government policy is not enabling them to deliver genuinely affordable housing - we need to have a housing strategy that provides affordable homes to all people.”

The report sets out recommendations to tackle the challenges of providing the necessary housing - 96% described their need for affordable housing as severe or moderate, and 87% of respondents did not think that starter homes will address the problem of affordability. It is recommended that the government puts in place a housing strategy that provides decent homes for everyone in society.

The report also recommends that councils are not forced to sell-off their social housing to fund the extension of Right to Buy – 9 out of 10 councils are worried that the extension of Right to Buy will lead to less housing available for social rent.

Paul O’Brien, Chief Executive of APSE said:

“Our main message is we need Government to put in place a housing strategy for the nation that provides decent homes for all. Whilst efforts have been concentrated on so-called affordable homes this is often not the case and these homes remain out of reach for the vast majority of people.

“The situation is even worse for those dependent on social and genuinely affordable housing for rent. Current housing policy is in need of demolition. The time has come to start afresh by putting local authorities and new council homes at the heart of a new housing strategy.”

The report also showcases innovation in local government, including effective new models of housing delivery, and the report calls for the government to give back control to local authorities over their investment plans, rents and assets.

This is the second housing research collaboration between the APSE and the TCPA. It follows a year on from the first study, Housing the nation: ensuring councils can deliver more and better homes’.

Notes to editors

1.       For further information please contact Claire Porter, TCPA  on 07743065875 or[email protected] or Mo Baines, APSE on [email protected] or 07971843515 

2.       This research was conducted using an online survey, which was sent to Council Leaders and Chief Executives, Heads of Planning, Heads of Housing and Heads of Finance across the UK. This was followed by an expert roundtable discussion to test the analysis and draft recommendations.

3.       APSE is the Association for Public Service, a not-for-profit organisation working with over 300 councils throughout the UK providing advice, support and research on frontline local government services.

4.       TCPA is the Town and Country Planning Association; Britain's oldest charity concerned with planning, housing and the environment. TCPA campaigns for the reform of the UK’s planning system to make it more responsive to people’s needs and aspirations and to promote sustainable development.