Lunchtime news Friday 16 May 2023

The Local Government Association claims that, in the next two years, a million more people will be on the waiting list for social housing. About four million are already waiting for a council or housing association home, and the LGA says that the high cost of house buying, a lack of credit and curbs on the number of homes being built will push the figure up to more than five million. It is calling on councils which are struggling to meet demand for social housing to be given greater freedom to borrow and remortgage assets to invest in housing stock.

Conservative leader David Cameron launched his party’s Homelessness Foundation yesterday, saying that it is a ‘disgrace’ that people are sleeping on Britain’s streets. The foundation has been set up for the Conservative Party to ‘get back to its roots’; look at the causes of homelessness such as poverty, mental illness, unemployment and housing shortage; and come up with solutions to ease the problem. Mr Cameron has proposed greater links with the voluntary sector, and has offered to ‘hopefully put things into practice straight away’ after the party won the majority of councils and London mayoralty in the recent local elections.

Communities and Local Government figures on house building in England show that the number of new starts has slumped to its lowest level for nearly a decade. There were 32,100 new housing starts in England in the first three months of the year ,which was 21 per cent lower than the previous quarter and 24 per cent down from a year ago. The greatest drop has been among private house builders.

Yesterday’s announcement by the Bank of England that ‘worse is to come’ with inflationary pressures prohibiting further interest rate cuts, sent the Libor (interbank lending) rate up for the second day running. Until Wednesday, the rate had been falling for three weeks. After the Bank’s inflation report was released, three-month sterling Libor increased to 5.84 per cent, pushing the average rate for a two-year loan to 6.64 per cent, its highest for eight years.