Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has launched a report she commissioned on the UK’s housing crisis.
The new report explores practical examples of how communities can ‘take back control’ of housing, identifying what lies behind the housing crisis and looking at some of the solutions used to address housing problems in other EU countries and how these might be applied to the UK.
The report identifies the UK as having the third highest mortgage debt is the EU and blames the housing crisis on an ‘investor mentality’, ongoing sell-offs of social housing, and successive government policies that focus on home ownership to the detriment of social housing.
It says the South West faces a particular challenge from second home ownership, pointing to the fact that the region contains 11% of England’s housing stock but 20% of its second homes.
Molly Scott Cato said:
“This report serves as a useful reminder of the housing crisis we face in the UK and what lies behind it. For thirty years, British governments have looked to the market to solve our problems, but things have only become worse.
“The Government have acknowledged that our housing market is broken, but they have failed to make the necessary break with the failed policies of the past. While they throw billions into subsidies that drive up prices they continue to sell-off and demolish social housing for rent. All the while, the number of homeless continues to grow.
“What is needed is a radical overhaul. We need a housing policy that stabilises prices and invests in social housing; one that protects renters and controls their rents, and helps small and community-led builders provide high quality and affordable homes that local communities will support.
“We should be inspired by our European neighbours. The Government could equalise tax rates and make subsidies less generous to stabilise house prices, learning from policies in Ireland and Sweden; it could give tenants more protection against rent increases and evictions, learning from experiences of rent controls in Spain, Italy and Germany and it could support community-led housing and planning approaches, learning from the Netherlands.
“We need a vision that is both radical and realistic. Examples from Europe show this is achievable and that we can and we must fix our broken housing market.”