General election campaign impact

A long-term plan for housing

Ahead of the next general election, we’re calling for all political parties to commit to a long-term plan for housing.

Why we need a long-term plan for housing

Right now, there are 8.5 million people in England who can’t access the housing they need. This includes two million children in England living in overcrowded, unaffordable or unsuitable homes.

The total cost to our society caused by poor housing is estimated at £18.5bn per year. The total cost to the NHS is £1.4bn a year.

Find out more about why we need a long-term plan for housing.

What will happen if we don’t fix the housing crisis?

With a long-term plan, we could end the housing crisis. Without one, research shows that things will get worse:

  • The number of children living in temporary accommodation will rise from 131,000 to 310,000 by 2045.
  • Social housing waiting lists will grow to 1.8 million households by 2045 – an increase of more than 50%.
  • By 2045, 5.7 million households will be paying a third of their income on housing costs.
  • Demand for homes frequently outstrips supply and the cost of construction has increased significantly. These factors, coupled with household costs rising across the board, mean that homelessness is set to accelerate unless a housing plan is introduced. The amount of people experiencing homelessness could more than double, reaching 620,000 by 2045.
  • There is a shortage of homes suitable for their occupants, whether that’s not having handrails, ramps, stair lifts, adapted bathrooms or a lack of other adjustments. By 2045, around 2.3 million people will be in poorly suited homes and there will be a 350,000 home shortfall of retirement and supported housing.

Find out more about what will happen if we don’t fix the housing crisis.

What would long-term plan look like?

The housing crisis is a crisis that can be solved. Countries around the world are tackling similar crises with long-term national strategies – so can we. By building a long-term plan which delivers real change for the people who need it most, the next government can transform the housing system and create lasting solutions that serve people, the planet and our economy.

A long-term plan could do the following by 2035:

  • Fix child homelessness
  • Halve overcrowding
  • Provide the security of a social home for one million more people
  • Ensure a warm and decent home for seven million more families
  • Improve affordability
  • Boost productivity by ensuring every region has the homes it needs to grow.

Find out more about what a long-term plan should include.

What is the economic impact of building more?

New research highlights the economic impact of building social housing. The new report, The economic impact of building social housing, completed by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), in a partnership between the NHF and Shelter, the research shows that:

  • Just one year of building the 90,000 social rented homes our country needs would add £51.2bn to the UK economy.
  • Most of this impact would happen quickly – £32.6bn would be generated within a year of building the homes, supporting almost 350,000 jobs.
  • Within 11 years the initial government funding to build the homes would be fully paid back. Over a 30 year period, building 90,000 social rented homes results in a £12bn profit for the taxpayer.

Find about more The economic impact of building social housing


In the run up to the general election, to support members and key stakeholders, we have created are a digital toolkit to help you amplify our message to the next government that we need a long-term #PlanForHousing to end the housing crisis for good.

Who to speak to

Sarah Finnegan, Head of Policy