It’s time to fight for homes
Created on Friday, March 13th, 2015
by Peter McCormack
When I was first told that the National Housing Federation (Nat Fed) were organising a rally in London, to call for an increase in house-building, I knew that Derwent Living simply had to be there but more than that, I also wanted to be there.
During the period since the 2008 crash and in the face of continued austerity, it has been an uphill battle for housing associations like ours. With dwindling funding from central government, we’ve had to be creative in our approach to meeting our affordable housing objectives, with our commercial activity supporting that core purpose.
In the run up to the general election in May, it is great that the political spotlight is falling on housing. Unfortunately that focus is all too often on promoting home ownership. It’s a fine aspiration and we at Derwent Living encourage people to invest in a home of their own, but it is just not feasible to expect this to be a realistic target for many when house prices are simply too high.
The system we have already has resulted in a shift in focus from social housing and the benefits that come from having a well-structured and affordable housing sector.
In fact, if we had more affordable homes, the cost of owning would reduce. So providing more homes is the real solution, rather than direct subsidies, such as ‘Help to Buy’ and the like.
Excessive and unaffordable housing costs will limit the nation’s ability to recover economically; especially if, for example, we can’t house people within reasonable reach of their workplaces. We face the situation where, as a nation, lack of housing is a barrier to economic success, particularly in London and the South-East.
That’s why here, at Derwent Living, we’re adding our voices to the call for change. On Sunday 15 March, I’ll begin a 240km cycle ride from Derby to London, to promote the campaign. One new home needed every year for every metre cycled. It’s a target that we want Westminster to start taking seriously.
I believe in social justice. It is a basic right that everyone should have somewhere to call home. In 2015, it is incomprehensible, even shameful, that this isn’t the case for everybody in the UK. That’s why we’ll be backing the Homes for Britain campaign and why we’ll be there, on 17 March, fighting for homes.
You can also pledge your support by going to the Homes for Britain website.