Government urged to give local authorities more powers to build housing
As pupils have broken up from school, 119,830 children in England will be living in temporary accommodation during the end-of-year break, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
The cross-party organisation, which represents the majority of councils in England, is calling on the government to let local authorities build back locally by giving them the powers and resources to deliver a social housing building programme of 100,000 new homes a year to help address the housing shortage.
With previous LGA analysis showing council housing waiting lists could double as a result of the pandemic, the national body says giving councils these new powers would help the government meet a third of its annual housing target and reduce homelessness.
The LGA is calling for further reform of the Right to Buy scheme so councils can retain 100 per cent of receipts, have flexibility to combine Right to Buy receipts with other government grants and be able to set the size of discounts locally.
It says doing this would help councils begin building homes more quickly.
The LGA said there are 1,350 households with children in bed and breakfasts this summer.
Earlier this month, it revealed rising demand for homelessness support was forcing councils to spend more than five times as much on bed and breakfast accommodation as they were 10 years ago.
Councillor Darren Rodwell, LGA’s housing spokesperson, said: “Having a safe, secure, permanent home is the bedrock of any child getting the very best start in life, so it is tragic that thousands of children face having to spend their summer holidays living in temporary accommodation.
“This is a sad reflection of the lack of housing in this country and demonstrates the urgent need to build more social homes.
“This won’t happen overnight, but it is vital that councils, working with government, are given the powers to get building homes again at a scale that drastically reduces homelessness, as we look to build back the nation following the pandemic.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The number of children in temporary accommodation has fallen this year and cutting it further is a priority – that’s why we are investing over £750 million next year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.
“We have also given councils more freedom on how they spend the money from homes sold through Right to Buy to help them build the homes needed in their communities and are investing more than £12 billion in affordable housing over five years, with half for affordable and social rent.”