Recent research undertaken on behalf of the Local Government Association has shown that a failure to invest in social housing over the last 20 years has resulted in more low-income renters and homeowners entering the private rented sector.
Whilst this revelation is not exactly groundbreaking, or surprising in any way, some of the statistics revealed by the study are quite staggering.
The research imagines a hypothetical scenario in which 100,00 government-funded social homes were built each year from 1997 onward. It found that, not only would there be enough social housing for every housing benefit claimant by 2016, but also that those claimants would have realised a total combined saving of £1.8bn.
The cost of building the homes would have been offset by additional tax revenues generated by the construction industry, as well as the rent generated by the homes themselves, and the welfare saving in moving those tenants into lower cost homes.
Further, the findings reveal that "the rising proportion of housing benefit caseloads in the private rented sector has cost an extra £7bn in real terms over the last decade."
The Local Government Association said its new research provides evidence for why the Government should use the Spending Review to work with councils to ensure that the genuine renaissance in council housebuilding needed to increase housing supply, boost affordability and reduce homelessness, is a success. Social rent, which provides secure tenancies on low rents for low income families and vulnerable people, is at a historic low.