Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence



Examination of Witnesses (Questions 37-39)

LORD BEST

WEDNESDAY 12 JUNE 2002

Chairman

  37. Can I welcome you to the second session this morning. Could I ask you to identify yourself for the record, please?

  (Lord Best) I am Richard Best. I am the Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which does a lot of research about housing issues. I am also Director of the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust which tries to put things into practice that we preach in our research.

  38. Do you want to say anything by way of introduction? Or are you happy for us to go straight to questions?
  (Lord Best) Perhaps it would be more helpful to you if you went straight to questions.

Mrs Ellman

  39. What is the relationship between overall housing need and affordable housing need?
  (Lord Best) Between overall housing and affordable housing. They are intimately linked and I think that all of the discussion about production of affordable housing in isolation, separately from the market as a whole, is going to mislead us. I see the underlying problem in London and the south-east and in hot spots elsewhere as one of supply, overall supply, and not just the fact that some of the housing is not affordable. If we have 50 year mortgages for nurses to make housing affordable for them—I groan at this prospect—or if we give nurses 10,000 a shot (and we have done 520 so far, apparently) so they can buy their way into the market, or we build a little ghetto of affordable housing on a separate site, all of these one-off little measures are not affecting the overall supply of housing, they are just squeezing somebody else out of it. If nurses are in, housing managers—I do not know who—are not in. It is the overall supply that we have to increase. That then impacts on house prices, on affordability to people all the way up the scale and, of course, at the end of the day, on homelessness, overcrowding, sharing (which is ultimately what happens if you do not have enough).

 


 
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