The UK’s population has grown by ten million since 1997 and now stands at 68.3 million people. The annual growth rate started picking up in 1997 when it was 0.33% and peaked in 2008 at 1.12%, which was nearly all of the years of Labour being in power. The growth rate then slowly and steadily fell, coming down to 0.53% in 2020. With ten million more of us in just 24 years, it is hardly surprising that the provision of new housing has struggled to keep up, leading to problems of affordability for many people, especially younger people.
The provision of housing, especially affordable housing, is a huge challenge for both national and local government with Crawley being no exception. This is why our Conservative government recently announced the largest single investment in affordable housing in a decade. This £8.6 billion will involve nearly 120,000 additional new homes being built nationally. 30,000 of these homes will be built for social rent, providing secure and affordable housing to those who need it most, including helping those who are homeless.
This strong investment will support hundreds of thousands of jobs and help many more first-time buyers into home ownership. We need a good mixture of housing tenures to ensure that everyone has opportunities in life.
Around half of the new homes from this £8.6 billion funding will be available for affordable home ownership, helping even more young people and families get on the housing ladder. This follows other government schemes to help first-time buyers into homeownership including First Homes, offering new homes at a 30% discount on open market value, and the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme, which helps first-time buyers secure a mortgage with just a 5% deposit.
I’m under no illusions that the long-term issue of housing affordability can be solved overnight, but we Conservatives are committed to addressing it. Since coming to power in 2010, the government has delivered over 542,400 new affordable homes. This new £8.6 billion funding allocation marks an important step towards the government’s mission to deliver up to 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
8th September 2021