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Tackling the housing crisis
Alternatives to declining standards, displacement and dispossession

This paper examines the underlying causes of the housing crisis and seeks to develop effective strategies in response. The paper looks at why people are at risk of being displaced from their homes and what a progressive government would need to do in order to reverse these processes. By focusing on what local authorities can do in the meantime to protect local communities, especially the most disadvantaged, the authors put forward several policies and strategies that must be developed at national and local government level.

The paper draws upon existing research, together with original research, carried out in two inner London boroughs, illustrating some of the most extreme examples of the effects of current housing policies. Although there are significant regional differences to be taken into account, these examples do serve to demonstrate the extent of the challenges to be faced by an incoming Labour government. An incoming Labour government will need to put housing at the top of their agenda if the challenges of declining standards, displacement and dispossession are to be tackled. Decent housing is a right, and inequality of access to affordable housing is an injustice that a new government must remedy.

This paper recognises that housing problems will not be solved without rebalancing the economy, reducing the demand pressure on London and the South East, and redirecting public funds to other regions and makes several recommendations to address the housing issues raised, which include:

  1. Prioritising housing investment over other infrastructure projects and committing to build 200,000 social rented homes each year and at least 100,000 private sector homes a year by the end of the next Parliament.
  2. Removing restrictions on local authority borrowing.
  3. Introducing legislation to end the Right-to-Buy.
  4. Ending the affordable rents strategy and introducing a 5 year freeze on rent rises beyond inflation.