Debate Magazine

Make a House a Home (if You Can Afford To)

Posted on the 24 February 2014 by Humanwriter @roseforman
Housing is one of our basic rights, under Article 25 (1) of the UNDHR “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.“ This is basically a right outlining welfare provision, the government has a responsibility (but not a duty?) to provide housing when needed as well as food, help in the event of unemployment and homelessness. This right is put into practice in the UK by individual councils and their respective housing officers. However, the council can only provide when it has something to give.
Many councils no longer own their own ‘council houses’, these were sold off to housing associations who manage them on behalf of the council. The council therefore acts as a middle-man in assessing housing needs and controlling the list of applicants. Now Britain is clawing it's way out of the recession the demand for houses has by far outstripped supply. Peter Bolton King, RICS Global residential director said: ‘While the number of new homes being built is now on the rise, it still won’t be anywhere near enough to meet demand and we expect the problem of insufficient housing stock to be the main driver behind price increases over the next twelve months.’
The main issue is that the fewer houses there are and the more people wanting to move means that suppliers can put the prices up, all leading to many people struggling to afford housing. One in five people are facing the possibility of sleeping rough due to not being able to afford their housing and household bills. There is a shortage of affordable housing and the government has a human rights responsibility to do something about it. So what are they going to do? Labour has declared it will give councils a right to expand even if other authorities are opposing. Conservatives are planning on giving councils more flexibility in borrowing for building houses. But will this help? And are our human rights being respected? The UK is in need of both social housing and affordable housing. It is up to our government to ensure it is provided.

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