The nation faces a desperate housing crisis. We need to build at least 340,000 homes per year – and of that at least 100,000 good quality social rented homes – as we are not building enough homes to meet demand.
The acute shortage of housing, particularly social and genuinely affordable housing, has led to spiralling rents and house prices across the nation causing an affordability crisis – especially for young people and families on low to middle incomes who struggle to afford to rent or buy a decent home. As a result overcrowding, evictions, rent arrears and homelessness are all on the rise.
We’re calling on the government to address the housing crisis by taking urgent action to invest in a national house building programme to increase the supply of all types of housing, particularly social rented homes provided by councils and housing associations, as well as action to improve the affordability, accessibility, security, safety and standards of housing across all sectors.
The Housing Crisis
UNISON is deeply concerned with the housing crisis which has been evident over several years. We are particularly worried about the dramatic reduction in the supply of social and genuinely affordable housing through policies such as the Right to Buy; the 1.1m households on social housing waiting lists; the impact of austerity and government funding cuts on housing services and jobs; the lack of effective regulation in the private rented sector; the high costs of renting and homeownership; the poor quality of some homes in both the social and private rented sectors and how this affects the well-being of tenants; and the effects of housing benefit cuts on vulnerable people who struggle to meet their housing costs.
Housing Affordability Tool
High housing costs (high private rents and house prices) have priced public service workers out of housing. UNISON’s online tool highlights that ordinary working people are getting a raw deal – we can’t afford to buy, renting is insecure and social housing has been slashed while our wages have stagnated. Help to highlight the injustice at the heart of the economy and share The Great Housing Rip-Off with your friends and family. And email your MP to demand something changes.
UNISON’s Housing Campaign
Housing is a human right and the government has a duty to take a pro-active approach to ensuring people living in the UK have decent, secure, stable, safe and affordable homes to live in. That is why UNISON campaigns for economic policies that will help our members and workers on modest incomes, and understands the particular challenges faced by young people who are most affected by the housing crisis as they often have to put up with high rents, poor quality accommodation and insecurity in private renting.
Our housing campaign aims to:
- Raise housing high up the political agenda
- Provide analysis of the implications of the housing crisis on public service workers and citizens
- Provide a forum for balanced policy debate; and provide alternatives and solutions to the housing crisis
- Act as a clear voice calling for urgent government action to tackle the housing crisis
- Highlight the crucial role of councils and housing associations in providing homes for people on modest incomes
- Campaign for a significant increase in funding to invest in genuinely affordable homes
- Highlight the need for a properly functioning housing market where supply meets demand and workers can afford to live in homes near their places of work
- Promote the economic benefits of house-building and the need to invest in and build more housing across all tenures, especially social housing
- Support the TUC’s call for a moratorium on Right to Buy sales
- Highlight the need for improved housing choices for people looking for a home, with a wider mix of genuinely affordable and social housing options, independent housing advice and an end to the idea that home ownership is the only game in town
- Campaign for a system of rent controls and better regulation of the private rented sector to drive up standards
- Highlight the effects of welfare reforms on vulnerable people
- Highlight the need for an improved redress, consumer and regulatory system across all housing tenures to raise standards and to empower tenants to hold landlords to account when things go wrong
Our members in housing
UNISON is the largest trade union in the UK that represents people who work in housing. Approximately 100,000 members are employed by local councils and private registered providers (housing associations) delivering a range of services, including administering housing benefit, managing homes, housing-related social care, housing advice, repair work and administrative support.
UNISON represents members from the workplace up to government and industry bodies, such as the National Housing Federations (NHF, WFHA, SFHA and NIFHA) and housing regulators, including Homes England.
Whether it’s pay negotiations or government policy, UNISON is the independent voice of the housing worker. That gives us a unique knowledge of the issues affecting tenants, potential tenants and people working in housing.
UNISON has had a long tradition of campaigning for more housing that is affordable and accessible to our members, their families and the wider public. The union works with campaign partners to call on the government to solve the housing crisis. They include: