Today’s Guardian reports on Labour plans to redefine the word “affordable”. It is a word that has caused much confusion and anger in housing circles since the current government reformed the grant system for social housing.
To be deemed affordable and thus qualify for state subsidy, new homes must be offered to tenants at a maximum of 80% of local market rents. To call this affordable betrays a staggering lack of awareness. In the real world, 80% is not much cheaper than the expensive rents set by the free market; it is not affordable to people on average incomes in expensive areas, let alone those on low incomes whom subsidised housing is supposed to prioritise.