Chancellor comes in for criticism after failing to mention housing in spending round speech

Chancellor and ex-Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has been criticised for failing to mention housing in his spending round speech yesterday.

There will be a 2.7% increase to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s budget for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.

Javid did pledge an extra £54m to help homeless people and rough sleepers, bringing the total sum up to £422m.

Green MP Caroline Lucas reacted angrily to what she called the lack of action on housing.

She said that the extra funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping did not begin to tackle the root causes.

She picked out over-reliance on the private sector to provide homes and said this was a failed policy, calling for more social housing to be provided.

She said: “This country has been facing a housing crisis for decades and the Chancellor has not addressed it.

“A shortfall of 3m social homes, young families facing a lifetime in expensive and insecure private rented accommodation, thousands pushed into temporary accommodation when they are evicted.

“This is a national scandal.

“Lying behind it is the mass privatisation of Right to Buy, the failure to invest in new council housing, and relying on the private sector to provide homes, a policy that has comprehensively failed – except to deliver mass profits to a handful of large house builders and obscenely high salary to their bosses.”

She said that the situation in her own consitutency, Brighton and Hove, was particularly acute.

She said: “More than 1,500 households are in temporary accommodation, two thirds of them households with children.

“That’s more than three times the rate in the rest of England.

“Housing benefit is completely inadequate to meet the soaring costs of private rents.

“The Government should end the cruel freeze on the Local Housing Allowance. Keeping it artificially low is pushing families into rent arrears, debt and homelessness.

“We need a mass programme of zero-carbon council housing and, for this to happen, the swingeing local government funding cuts must be reversed and funding provided so our councils can invest in bricks and mortar to keep people housed and deliver vital local services.”

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf said: “It is disappointing that the Chancellor didn’t mention housing directly.

“What was missing in the statement was more encouragement or financial incentives for first-time buyers or plans to improve the supply of affordable property, either through rent or sale.”

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of homeless charity Crisis, said: “Right now there are thousands of people homeless up and down the country and even more in vulnerable circumstances, on the brink of homelessness.

“The spending review is a missed opportunity for Government to be serious in tackling the fundamental issues that cause homelessness in the first place.

“Every day through our work we hear from people whose housing benefit simply doesn’t cover the cost of their rent, leaving them under immense financial pressure and at genuine risk of homelessness.

“We need significant investment commitments to help struggling families to keep the roof over their head.

“If the Government is serious about meeting its 2027 commitment to end rough sleeping, then we need bolder financial commitments to prevent people from losing their home in the first place, and investment in significantly more truly affordable social homes to be built.”

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One Comment

  1. Penguin

    This seems a bit of a storm in a tea cup as the current government will be gone some time in the next five minutes – before they even get a chance to TALK about implementing this spending round!

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