MP calls for affordable housing

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A SOUTH Yorkshire MP has called for the Government to take steps to make it easier for people to afford their own home after national figures showed the number of home owners is at the lowest since the 1980s.

Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central, said he believed ‘more leadership is required from the government’.

The National Housing Federation has predicted the situation could become worse - and that by 2021, owner-occupation rates could be lower than they were before Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minster in 1979.

Mr Jarvis said: “At the moment, we have situations where people have to save up to 30 per cent of the house value as a deposit.

“This is an incredible sum of money for anyone to have to try and save, especially when we consider that the cost of living is rising, wages are falling and youth unemployment is at a record high.”

“The equation that needs solving is this; we don’t have enough houses but we do have developers ready to build more versus plenty of young, potential homeowners, that don’t have the money saved for a deposit on a house.

“Therefore developers are reluctant to build homes that they wouldn’t be able to sell in the current mortgage climate.

“It is a vicious cycle that needs breaking and I don’t pretend this is easy or a quick fix.

“It cannot be right, however, that we are building less houses today than at any point in the post-war period given the rise in the number of people renting and living at home with parents.”

Housing minister Grant Shapps admitted: “We have not been building enough homes”.

But he insisted the government was ‘in the process of reversing that through massive planning reform’ and a ‘massive programme’ involving the release of thousands of acres of public land on which to build new homes.