Research commissioned by Shelter and the National Housing Federation (NHF), indicates that investing in social housing could contribute over £50 billion to the UK economy

Tuesday 27th of February 2024

The study, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), suggests that building 90,000 social homes annually could generate £51.2 billion in net economic and social benefits over 30 years. The report indicates that within three years, the investment would break even, returning £37.8 billion to the economy, primarily through the construction industry.

The findings are based on an analysis of previous research and highlight various benefits, including £4.5 billion in housing benefit savings, £2.5 billion in construction tax income, £3.8 billion in employment tax income, £5.2 billion in NHS savings, £4.5 billion in reduced homelessness costs, and £3.3 billion in Universal Credit savings. The research suggests that the initial government funding of £11.8 billion would be fully repaid in 11 years.

Both Shelter and the NHF emphasize the historical failure to build enough social homes, leading to a net loss of nearly 11,700 social homes last year and a waiting list of 1.3 million households. The organisations call on political parties to address the housing crisis, advocating for a long-term plan prioritising social housing and the urgent construction of 90,000 new social homes annually.

Polly Neate, Shelter's chief executive, emphasizes the economic and societal benefits of building social homes, asserting that it would end the housing emergency and pay for itself within three years. Kate Henderson, NHF's chief executive, describes building more social homes as a "win-win solution" that boosts the construction industry, saves government money, and benefits those affected by the housing crisis.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) notes its commitment to affordable housing delivery, citing a record year for starts and over 696,100 new affordable homes since 2010. The DLUHC spokesperson mentions the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme and the government's long-term plan to build one million homes over the current parliament.

The article concludes with a mention of Inside Housing's Build Social campaign, which also advocates for 90,000 social homes per year in England and 100,000 across the UK.

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