1150 GMT January 19, 2019
More than three million new social homes are needed in the next 20 years — more than the number of houses that were built in the two decades after the end of World War II, according to a year-long housing commission launched in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, theguardian.com reported.
Its commissioners include the former Conservative party chair, Sayeeda Warsi, the former Labour leader Ed Miliband and the former Conservative Treasury minister and Goldman Sachs chief economist, Lord Jim O’Neill.
The call represents a direct challenge to Tory ministers to dramatically increase social house building from its current level of just over 6,000 homes a year. The number of new homes proposed is equivalent to seven times more houses than there are are in Birmingham and 27 times more than in Milton Keynes.
It comes as the government plans possible new legislation on social housing following the deaths of 72 people at Grenfell Tower, with stronger regulation and more money for council housing. It has described public housing as a safety net and a stepping stone to home ownership, which British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to increase in line with the long-held Conservative belief in a ‘property-owning democracy’.
But the commission, convened by the housing charity Shelter, is arguing that council houses and social housing should be available to more than just the people in greatest need and those saving to buy. As well as the 1.3 million people it estimates are in greatest need because of hazardous homes, overcrowding, homelessness and disabilities, the new homes should be accessible to a further 1.2 million young people and 700,000 older people trapped in private rent.
The commission puts the provision of housing on a par with health and education.