Renting beyond their means? The role of living rent in addressing housing affordability
Nearly 5 million households in England face a problem with their housing affordability. These affordability problems are the result of a series of interlinked problems including the undersupply of housing, the ongoing decline of social housing, reductions in housing subsidies, the financialisation of housing, changes to the benefit system, and low wages and regional disparities between wages.
As the UK government moves its focus from the public health response to Covid-19 to economic recovery, it must learn the lessons of this crisis. Many of these are in relation to public health, but there are also lessons to be learnt about the need for greater economic and societal resilience.
The recommendations outlined in this report, if implemented, would help restore affordable housing’s role as the “first social service”, ensure it is genuinely affordable through the implementation of a ‘living rent’ approach, and build support for affordable housing by widening access to tenure, helping the very ‘key workers’ that have kept the country going during the Covid-19 crisis. These recommendations would also help drive our economic recovery through a massive green housebuilding programme.