The number of households categorised as homeless in rural local authorities in England rose to 19,975 – an increase of 115 percent from 2017-18.
The report states that the increase in homelessness in rural areas is greater than that occurring in towns and cities, and rural councils fear the housing shortage in the countryside could soon worsen.
Local authorities have predicted a potential reduction in affordable house construction by up to 50 percent if the requirement to build them switches to applying to sites with more than 40 or 50 homes rather than just 10 homes. The change could arise under the Government’s proposed alterations to the planning system.
The Rural Services Network commented that changes set out in the Government’s planning white paper would be catastrophic for the delivery of rural affordable housing. It argues that more rural affordable housing would boost the economy.
It has forecast that for every 10 new affordable homes built the economy would be boosted by £1.4m, supporting 26 jobs and generating £250,000 in Government revenue.
Graham Biggs, chief executive of RSN, said:
“The social case for affordable rural housing provision is undeniable and is at the heart of sustainable rural communities. Now the economic case for Government investment in such housing is also firmly established, we call on the Government to boost affordable rural housing supply in a clear win-win situation.”
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