Call for urgent action to tackle housing crisis
MPs have today called for urgent action to solve the housing crisis as it is revealed nowhere near enough new homes are being built across Bristol.
The Local Government Committee said there was a "significant" housing shortfall, which had been "amplified" by the recession.
The MPs said huge sums of money would be needed if the problem was to be solved, pointing to figures showing the number of newly-built homes was being dwarfed by how many new households were being formed.
According to official estimates, the number of households in Bristol and its three neighbouring authorities will rise by an average of 7,800 every year between now and 2033. Yet last year, just 1,293 desperately-needed affordable homes were completed across the four areas of Bristol, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
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Meanwhile, more than 36,000 people are languishing on housing waiting lists.
In the Bristol City Council area, 609 new affordable homes were completed, figures released in Parliament show, while work began on a further 272.
The report will increase the focus on the battle for sites for new homes, which has been fought keenly in areas such as Kingswood, where the green belt has been under threat from development.
Ministers have changed the planning rules to create a controversial "presumption in favour of sustainable development" to make it easier to secure permission for development. But the MPs say extra investment is needed.
Today's report calls for four key measures to plug the gap. Councils should have more freedom over the scale of housebuilding in each area, they say, and there should be a "massive expansion" of self-build housing.
There should also be more investment from pension funds and financial institutions, and changes to the way housing associations are funded.
Labour MP Clive Betts, pictured, who chairs the committee, said: "For decades, successive Governments have failed to deliver sufficient homes to meet demand.
"The country faces a significant housing shortfall, and the financial crisis has amplified the problem. 232,000 new households are forming each year in England, and yet last year fewer than 110,000 new homes were completed.
"There is no 'silver bullet'. We have to muster all the resources we can."
The Government's housing strategy had made a useful start, he said, but more action was needed.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: "We welcome the committee's report and will consider the recommendations it makes. Top down, regional targets pitted neighbours against developers and contributed to the lowest level of housebuilding since the 1920s so we've taken a range of measures to put power back into the hands of councils and communities."
He said £1.32 billion had been invested in getting new homes built and stalled development back on track.