David Cameron’s announcement this week that developers will no longer have to provide “affordable” homes is another nail in the coffin for social housing. We have a lengthy housing waiting list, and this proposal is a stunning kick in the teeth for those in housing need.
Under Cameron’s plans, our affordable housing offer in Croydon would be homes costing £450,000, which is well beyond the means of most of our residents and only affordable to the well-off. The average salary in Croydon is £27,000 per year; so a £450,000 home would be “affordable” only to those earning £77,000.
The housing crisis in London means that councils such as Croydon are increasingly having to make use of costly and unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation. Cameron’s starter homes scheme will only worsen the situation and put more families in B&Bs, as affordable rented homes currently offer councils an avenue in which to place homeless families.
These changes will benefit property developers so it is likely that many planned schemes will be delayed until the new rules are in place, to the developers’ obvious advantage.
The situation is compounded by making local authorities sell off properties to fund the replacement of homes sold under the extended right-to-buy scheme, again those in most housing need are the losers.
It is vital that we build more social housing so we can meet housing need. Cameron’s plans will deepen the housing crisis and further alienate struggling families, cutting them off from the rest of society.