Headlines: September 8th, 2005

The Government is facing a call this morning to build an extra 60,000 new social rented homes by 2011 at a cost of 1.25 billion pounds. In a hard-hitting report ‘Building hope: The case for more homes now’, the housing charity Shelter says it is time to confront the full reality of the country’s housing crisis. The report warns that without these new homes, Ministers will not deliver on the recommendations of the Treasury-commissioned Barker Review of housing supply and will fail to reach their own target to halve the number of people in temporary accommodation by 2010.The report is based on research conducted for Shelter by leading Cambridge academics. It sets out the definitive picture of housing need across the country. Based on its findings, Shelter estimates that if the Government funds the new homes, tens of thousands of children could be lifted out of bad housing. The charity is calling on Gordon Brown to commit to building the additional homes in the pre-budget report in November, when a formal response to the Barker Review is expected. Shelter is calling on members of the public to show their support for ‘More Homes Now!’ by signing campaign cards that can be presented to Gordon Brown.

Adam Sampson, Director of Shelter, said, “Sixty thousand extra homes requires major investment but it could mean 150,000 children no longer suffering in housing that damages their health, education and future prospects. The true extent of housing need is even greater, but building these homes now would be the first vital step so desperately needed.”

There charity says that current plans envisage 30,000 social rented homes being built each year between 2008 and 2011 and it is calling for an additional 20,000 to be constructed each year over the same period.

The report marks the beginning of the next phase of Shelter’s ‘Million Children Campaign’, which has highlighted the plight of the more than one million children living in bad housing. More than 116,000 of these are homeless in temporary accommodation and 900,000 live in overcrowded conditions. The campaign says these circumstances are ruining the children’s health, education and future prospects and the charity is calling on the Government to end bad housing for the next generation of children.