(This is the text of my latest Opinion column in the Brighton Argus, first published on 4th August 2015)
The housing association world is in meltdown. The announcement in the Budget that social housing rents must be reduced is being interpreted in some quarters as a sign that the government has turned on housing associations. Large associations are now saying that they will only build for market rents, shared ownership, and outright sale.
The reality is that many housing associations did not need this Budget announcement to change direction. They abandoned low-cost social housing some time ago.
In Brighton, just 15 new homes at social rents are to be built in the next 3 years by housing associations
I’m not saying anything new, just repeating a point I make frequently, and will continue to make in the future: we have a crisis due to the lack of rented homes that people on low and medium incomes can afford.
This is not an attack on the current Conservative government, the previous Coalition, or the former Labour government. They all share responsibility.
Money was found when the bankers needed bailing out. Money is found if there is a war to be fought. Money will be found for the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons.
But ‘austerity’ politics dictates that social housing can’t be afforded. The cost, financial and human, will be felt for years to come, by our children and by their children. I am ashamed of my generation for being so short-sighted and selfish, especially when it was my generation that benefited so much from public investment in services, education and housing.
Rant over. For now at least.