The government has finally acknowledged that the crisis in affordable housing will have disastrous repercussions for the economy (July 27, page 20).
Isis welcomes the sentiment of Yvette Cooper’s green paper, as plans for more affordable, well-designed housing echo our own agenda, but whether the government can deliver what has been proposed is another question.
The green paper is a start, but the solution to the crisis also lies with certain financial institutions and the public sector, which can afford to think long-term because they do not answer to private shareholders.
Renting homes on a long-term basis could be the sensible option, especially if occupants can then acquire an equity stake in the property as part of their pension.
The government reforms to help young families get on the property ladder, including an equity scheme for those earning less than £60,000 a year, are a step in the right direction. This vision is a long way from the shared equity schemes offered at present, but why are we only offering them to people if they comply with certain low-income criteria? This only reinforces any prejudice about shared equity schemes.
We should have a wider understanding of affordability. The alternative is polarised sectors, where only a lucky few will be able to afford to buy property at increasingly high prices, and the vast majority of people will not. Shared equity should be offered to everyone to create a form of living fit for the high aspirations of the 21st century.
Mark Ryder, Isis