The Resolution Foundation has found that up to a third of young people face renting their home throughout their lifetime. Much of the media surrounding this concentrates on more affordable homes for young people to buy. What happens in a few years time as those who are renting are unable to work?
In the 70s before Margaret Thatcher allowed the purchase of local authority homes, people who had retired managed to pay the rent for their local authority home from their state pension. Fast forward a few years and there are very few local authority homes. Fast forward a few more years and there will be a large number of retired people living in privately rented accommodation.
It is highly likely that these privately rented accommodations will be within the limits of housing benefit payments or pension payments. The cash strapped local councils will be paying for accommodation for more and more people with no income apart from pensions.
In years gone by when local authorities owned more housing, any housing benefits paid came back to them. This gave local authorities a small but regular income. In a very short time the housing benefits will go to private landlords. Local authorities will have to pay millions in housing benefit and will have very little of it returning to their coffers.
What will happen then as local authority budgets are swallowed up by housing and care costs for the increasingly elderly population?
Unless local authorities start building more homes to ensure both a safe place to live and a regular income we will see more going bankrupt in the future. In the past this has resulted in local parishes building poor houses to cope with growing numbers of homeless. Will we be going backwards in the future?
Why are local authorities not looking forwards and building homes now to save them from paying private landlords in the future? If they don’t start soon, there will be a humanitarian crisis here in the UK in a very few years.