If you remember the millennium celebrations like they wereyesterday, perhaps imagine fast-forwarding the same period of time plus acouple of years. Doesn’t seem long, does it?
That will be when England is likely to face a shortfall of750,000 homes, 325,000 of them in London alone, according to a report from theInstitute for Public Policy Research that is based on the government’s ownprojections.
Little wonder that Labour leader Ed Miliband, who Isometimes wonder is overplaying the role of the silent type, has emphasised theneed for more social housing and is prepared to lead a government that wouldinvest £1.2bn in it.
The need for social housing, or affordable housing, isgreater than ever. Despite the floundering economy, house prices remain highand well out of reach of many first-time buyers who are unable to save for the20% deposit now required from lenders because the rents they pay to have a roof over their heads are equally outrageous.
That we will be 750,000 homes short by the mid-2020s isalarming. That the likes of London mayor Boris Johnson is so opposed to housingfor the less well-off (he scrapped Greater London’s 50% target for affordablenew-build) and his pledge to construct 50,000 new homes under his watch remains filed under Bluster is irresponsible.
But Johnson would have little personal experience of overcrowding andthe pernicious effects it can have on, say, children’s education and thetensions that might spill over into wider society.
If the IPPR forecasts prove accurate, the problem can onlybecome worse, particularly with every politician in government hailing our new, lacklustre Austerity Britain, fingers jabbing at the opposition benches, a snook cocked atthe rest of us, excusing themselves of action.
But, then, in 2025, that will be someone else’s problem, won’t it?
Picture: Nick Cobbing/Rex Features