Research by the National Housing Federation has revealed that there are now an estimated 1.3 million children living in poverty in privately rented homes in England, an increase of 537,325 children (69%) since 2008.[i]
Today nearly half of all children in privately rented homes in England live in poverty.This is despite seven in ten (71%) of their families being in work.
High property prices and a shrinking proportion of social housing mean that the number of families living in privately rented homes has increased by more than three quarters in a decade – growing faster than couples and single people.
The report shows that many parents are being forced to live in insecure private rented homes which they can’t afford, pushing them and their children into poverty. Since 2012, families living in private rented homes have outnumbered families in social housing.
The National Housing Federation is calling for urgent support from government to build more social housing to help lift these children out of poverty.
The report reveals that around a quarter of a million – 242,753 – of these children would not be living in poverty if they had access to social housing.
A further half a million children would be better off in social housing, with their families able to keep more of their income. These children have also been affected by low incomes, cuts to tax credits, and other benefit changes.
The report shows that by moving into social housing, typically 51% of market rent, households in poverty would be around £3,172 a year better off- more than a year’s worth of food for an average household.
The government would also save around £1.8 billion of taxpayers’ money each year in housing benefit payments.
The National Housing Federation is calling on the Government to provide more direct funding for social housing, particularly for family homes which are more expensive to build and to reform of the way that land is sold, so that housing associations building social housing are no longer priced out by luxury developers who stand to make millions in profit.
According to figures from the National Housing Federation and Crisis published this year, England needs to build 90,000 social homes a year to make up for the critical shortage. Last year only 6,463 were built.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation said: “It is a disgrace that in one of the wealthiest countries in the world we cannot provide our children with a secure and affordable home.
The critical lack of social housing is pushing more and more families into poverty by forcing them into insecure privately rented homes they cannot afford.
It’s so obvious that we need to be building more social housing and the government has a duty to our children to invest in this. This means increasing funding for social housing and urgently reforming the way that land is sold in this country.
We will only be able to build desperately needed social homes for children living in poverty if housing associations have access to land instead of the current situation where they are forced to bid directly against private developers who make millions from luxury properties.”