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Justin Welby: Archbishop says ‘moral responsibility’ to change housing crisis ‘blighting lives” of millions | UK News

Justin Welby: Archbishop says ‘moral responsibility’ to change housing crisis ‘blighting lives” of millions | UK News

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the range of housing problems in England are “blighting the lives and futures of millions of people” and insisted there is a “moral responsibility” to change this.

Justin Welby is to call for an end to “short-termism” in housing policy as a new report advocating decent homes across England is launched in the House of Lords today.

The Homes for All report sets out a new vision for England’s housing system encouraging long-term thinking and its implementation.

The phrase “England faces a housing crisis” has “lost its power to shock” due to its overuse, the report says.

It calls on the government to legislate for an independent body on housing – much like the Climate Change Committee, which advises on emission targets and reports to parliament on any progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The housing body would scrutinise and provide the technical expertise needed to transform housing and housing policy in England, the report says.

Backing the proposal of a national housing body, Mr Welby said: “Everyone should have a home that is comfortable and safe, and in a thriving community where they can flourish.

“But for many people in England, home means something very different. It is somewhere that is often expensive or temporary, insecure or unhealthy.

“These problems are blighting the lives and futures of millions of people, and we all have a moral responsibility to put it right.

“We must end the short-termism that is having a corrosive effect on our society and our economy.”

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A ‘systemic response’ needed

The report says England lacks a “collective national vision” on housing policy, adding that “politicians and the public have no shared understanding of what good looks like”.

“Far too many interventions have been designed to grab a short-term headline or deal with a very specific issue while failing to understand how they will impact on the rest of the housing system.

“Our report makes a compelling case that housing is a system, not a single issue sitting in isolation. We need a systemic response, long-term thinking and implementation.”

As well as providing expertise and scrutinising government proposals, the Housing Strategy Committee would give “regular independent assessment of progress towards achieving the shared vision”, the report claims.

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It details 25 key outcomes for England’s homes, housing market, housing system and housing policy.

Some of the points include:

  • People should live in homes of high minimum standards
  • Genuinely affordable housing choices should be available
  • Housing should “complement other vital systems” like healthcare, social care, finance and social security
  • Elements of the housing system (rental sector/construction/social housing”) “should work together”

Delivering the “systemic” change needed will take until 2050, the report said, but those behind it said that work must begin now.

Immediate priorities for the next parliament would be delivering at least 300,000 new homes yearly, ensuring a maximum of 50,000 households are in temporary accommodation at any one time, and improving affordability and quality standards of homes by the end of the parliament.

The report is supported by homelessness charity Crisis and several other housing federations.

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