03 Jun 24

Campaigning charity Shelter claims social rents are 64% more affordable than private rents, with social tenants in England having to pay on average £828 less per month in rent than private tenants.

The charity’s analysis of the latest government rent data shows if more social housing was available, renters across the country would be able to save thousands a year on their housing costs. 

If they could move from private renting into social housing, renters in London would be more than £1,400 better off a month on average, in the East of England £630 a month and in the South East £730 a month better off. 

But the charity claims that with a chronic shortage of social housing available and private rents hitting record highs, an increasing number of people are being priced out and tipped into homelessness. It adds that a record 145,800 children are homeless and living in temporary accommodation with their families.  

Shelter argues a new generation of genuinely affordable social homes is essential to insulate families from homelessness and keep communities together. 

In a survey of more than 2,000 social renters, carried out by Shelter and YouGov, 70% of social tenants said without their social home they could not afford to live in their local area. 

A statement from the charity says: “Compared to the insecurity of private renting, social housing offers long term secure tenancies with rents tied to local incomes. Part of Shelter’s research looked specifically at people who have moved from private renting into a social home in the last 10 years, and the difference it has made – 74% of people said they are less worried about having to move; 74% said they are less worried about becoming homeless; and 71% said there is more stability in their life as a result.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, comments: “Social housing enables people to live better lives, but we just don’t have enough of it – not by a long shot. Decades of failure to build genuinely affordable social homes has left the country in a dire state. 

“We continually hit shameful records with numbers of homeless children and sky-high rents, as more and more families are plunged into homelessness. For many this means years of upheaval and uncertainty, stripping the chance for families to set down roots, for children to thrive at school and taking the power away from people to live the life they want. 

“The housing emergency has been wilfully ignored for too long. All the signs point to one solution and it’s the only one that works. Now that a General Election has been called we cannot afford to waste any time. All political parties must commit to building genuinely affordable social homes – we need 90,000 a year over ten years to end the housing emergency for good.”

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