Housing crisis "wasn't taken seriously when it only affected the poor", says politician Tom Copley

'When the housing crisis was only affecting the poorest people, it wasn't taken seriously', says politician Tom Copley

Home ownership is at its lowest level since the 1980s

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

House ownership in England is at its lowest level since the 1980s, with one expert claiming that the housing crisis "wasn't taken seriously" by the government until it began to affect the middle classes.   

A report released this week by the Resolution Foundation found that 63.8% of people own atheir own home in England, the lowest level since 1986, when figures stood at 63.5%.

The struggle to get on the propert ladder is not just confined to London and the south east, with dramatic drops in ownership also found in Greater Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

Labour London Assembly (LA) member Tom Copley told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "When the housing crisis was only affecting the poorest people, it wasn't taken seriously.

"All we seem to get from the government are words rather than action." 

The deputy chair of the LA's housing committee added that, in addition to new homes, an overhaul of the system is required to give Britain a stable rental market similar to that in Germany. 

"You have far more rights as a tenant [in Germany] and they have far more decent pensions, so people don't worry about renting into their old age," he said.

"For the foreseeable future, more and more people are going to be renting [in Britain] – so we have to make that a stable experience."

Ed Mead, executive director at estate agents Douglas & Gordon, told Julia Hartley-Brewer that increasing supply – rather than blaming investors – is the solution to the country's housing difficulties. 

"We need to build a huge amount more," he said.

"The only way you change the free market is by massively increasing supply and encouraging institutional investment to creater large amounts of rental housing. Then perhaps there won't be a stigma attached to it.

"Renting provides a lot of mobility, and I think a lot of people who buy-to-rent have been unjustly vilified, by all sorts of people including the government. I think they provide a very useful function."

Listen to the full interview to discover more and let us know your thoughts on Britain's housing crisis