A boost for childcare in the autumn statement would be a profoundly depressing move. And it will be just as dispiriting if there are new programmes to help low-income families. Not because these measures aren’t to be warmly welcomed: it is just that it will tell you that the chancellor is focused on tinkering rather than boldly tackling the most pressing crisis of the age: housing.
Last week saw several heavyweight reports into Britain’s housing crisis. The Redfern review, detailing the catastrophic slump in home ownership, told us how real house prices have jumped 151% since 1996, while real earnings have risen only about a quarter as much.
The report by the ResPublica thinktank, out the next day, told us how 1.2 million people are languishing on housing waiting lists in England, while more than 6 million face tenure insecurity and no prospect of ever buying their own home.
Lyons Housing Commission reminded us last week how, after decades of failure to build the homes the country needs, public concern about housing is the highest it has been for 40 years.
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