Specialists and MPs must solve housing crisis together

Steve Stride, speaking at the Institute’s annual Presidential Dinner at the Natural History Museum in London, called for a “relentless focus” on building a new generation of homes.

Stride said: “A confidence gap is opening up between housing professionals and our decision-makers at the worst possible time – at the precise moment when partnerships between all tenures, across industries, and inside and out of government, are central to building a housing system that works.

“CIH is not interested in playing politics with housing – we are interested in the ideas and solutions that will provide the right housing, in the right places. But we must go beyond highlighting the deficiencies in our system. It is our job to help to solve the crisis.”

Stride said he was concerned at the results of a recent poll, which indicated that 30% of CIH members believe no political party listens sufficiently to housing professionals, while 17% don’t trust politicians to deliver housing results the UK needs.

He said: “We need an industry wide emphasis on supply – not in our interest, in the public interest. We need to respond with the energy and verve that inspired George Lansbury’s social housing revolution – an unequivocal and relentless focus on building a new generation of homes and communities.

“We know housing professionals can transform places, and people’s lives. So I will dedicate my presidential year to ensuring that all parties hear – and heed – the voices of housing professionals as they shape their manifesto commitments.”

Stride outlined his concerns about the UK’s welfare system, with proposals to axe housing benefit for under-25s and reports that private landlords evict tenants claiming housing benefit.

He said: “What message are we sending to our young people if we tell them, study hard, gain qualifications, choose your career and take a risk in the workplace, but do not expect help if the labour market cannot support you? We cannot support a policy direction that fails to provide a safety net to young people when they need it most.

“2014 is shaping up to be a year when the glare of publicity will be on housing. I have every confidence that we are ready and able to meet these challenges head on.”