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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

A New Rural Settlement: Fixing the affordable housing crisis in rural England

Coverage of the housing crisis all too often focuses on our towns and cities, principally those in London and the South East.

But unaffordability, and the problems it causes, are not isolated to urban areas. Those in rural areas also face challenges in accessing decent, secure and affordable homes.

The Institute for Public Policy’s recent report – A new settlement: Fixing the affordable housing in rural Englandfound that the average rural house price £87,000 higher than the urban average excluding London (£233,600), while incomes are lower.

High housing costs can have significant impacts on rural life. In the absence of sufficient affordable and long-term accommodation, young, economically active people will continue to move away from rural communities, essential services will close, and some villages risk terminal decline.

With housing policy now near the top of the political agenda, and reviews on social and affordable housing being undertaken by both major political parties, there is now an opportunity to make the case for a tailored approach to delivering the affordable homes that rural communities need. In light of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, there is also a need to rethink rural policy more widely, creating an opportunity to put the delivery of affordable housing at the heart of a new rural agenda.

It is in this context that we are bringing together parliamentarians with other key stakeholders, such as rural housing associations, advocates for rural services and landowners to discuss the findings and recommendations of our report and consider the steps needed to tackle the rural affordable housing crisis.

Speakers include:

  • Sandy Martin, Labour MP for Ipswich 

  • Lord Shipley, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Housing

  • Rebecca Pow, Conservative MP for Taunton Deane and Senior Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services (invited)

  • Elinor Goodman, Chair of the Rural Affordable Housing Commission 

  • Tom Fyans,  Director of Campaigns and Policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England

  • Darren Baxter, IPPR