In a report published at the start of Housing 2018 – the CIH’s annual conference – in Manchester today (26 June), the body has called on the government to suspend the Right to Buy in order to increase the supply of affordable housing

Those attending Housing 2018 will hear a call to rank social housing alongside the NHS – with poll citing strong public support – as the sector is urged to ‘own’ its future.

CIH wants Right to Buy suspended to halt the loss of social rented homes and investment shifted from private housing to affordable homes – citing its own analysis showing 79% of the government’s £53bn housing budget up to 2020/21 being pushed towards the private market and only 21% going to affordable.

Rethinking social housing will be launched by CIH at Housing 2018 in Manchester today.

It highlights six specific areas of action for the sector:

  • Adopting a common definition of the role of social housing
  • Ensuring tenants have a voice
  • Increasing the supply of genuinely affordable housing
  • Ensuring everyone can afford a home
  • Guaranteeing existing homes are of good quality and well managed
  • Challenging stigmas associated with social housing.

Alongside suspending the Right to Buy, the CIH said the government should also remove the barriers that stop councils replacing homes sold under the policy.

Other recommendations in the rethinking social housing report include linking social rents to local incomes, and reviewing regulation around tenant involvement and empowerment.

It also said that social landlords should set rents “that are genuinely affordable to people on lower incomes”.

Accompanying the report, the CIH commissioned an Ipsos MORI poll which found that more than 60% of people in England supported more social housing construction in their areas, with 78% of respondents saying it should be available to those who cannot afford private rents.

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the CIH, said: “The message we got from our research was loud and clear – social housing has a unique and positive role to play and it is highly valued.

“It’s also clear there is a huge disparity between the support for social housing demonstrated in this report and the current level of investment. And there is still a stigma attached to social housing as a product and the people who call it home.

“We can only truly start to tackle the chronic shortage of affordable housing in this country by putting social housing at the centre of government plans to solve the housing crisis.”

The report was sponsored by Home Group, Incommunities, Optivo, PA Housing, Peabody, Riverside, South Liverpool Homes, and Sovereign.

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