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Housing charity Shelter has outlined an urgent set of demands political parties should commit to, in order to end the housing emergency in the UK. 

With private rents at record high levels and 1.2m currently on housing waiting lists, political parties have been encouraged to take bold action to rebuild the housing system. Furthermore, a shameful 131,000 children are living in damaged temporary accommodation and the new government will be under scrutiny to address the fundamental failings in the current system. 

The housing charity is calling on a future government to make a number of commitments ahead of the general election in order to provide access to decent and affordable housing for all.

Shelter’s ‘manifesto to rebuild our broken housing system’ focuses on four demands; build a new generation of social rented homes, make private renting affordable, raise the standard of rented homes and improve housing rights and help to enforce them.

Here is a list of actions the charity has laid out to address each demand: 

Building a new generation of social rented homes

• Commit funding to build a new generation of social rent homes – at least 90,000 a year over ten years

• Remove barriers which stop social housing from getting built

• Fix planning rules so that every local area plans to build the right type of homes in the right places

Make private renting affordable

• Regulate in-tenancy rent increases to protect tenants from being forced out by an unexpected rent hike

• Unfreeze local housing allowance to cover at least the cheapest third of rents, so people can afford a home

• Abolish the household benefit cap which limits the total amount of benefits that households can receive, to tackle homelessness

Raise the standard of rented homes

• Invest in existing social homes to bring them up to standard, to underpin the effective implementation of the Social Housing (Regulation) Act

• Invest in, and give stronger powers to, local housing standards enforcement teams

Improve housing rights and help to enforce them

• introduce a legal right to suitable emergency accommodation and adequate support for everyone at risk of street homelessness

• restore legal aid for help with housing problems (such as disrepair)

• invest in accessible support services (such as Supporting People and Housing First) to prevent homelessness

Shelter has warned that if the next government fails to act, they risk a “massive economic and political decline over the next half decade”, arguing that society is being held back through inadequate housing, affecting people’s health and the ability to create a sustainable economy.

(Image credit: Sludge G / Flickr)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

The post Manifesto demands: What political parties must do to end the UK housing crisis appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.


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