A trade body representing short-term let operators, the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), has strongly criticized the government for its perceived failures in the housing sector. The STAA claims to have conducted a comprehensive analysis of local authority data, revealing a staggering potential of almost two million homes that have not been addressed due to what it deems as insufficient government funding for social housing.
This conclusion is drawn from a meticulous examination of 294 Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments, Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessments, or their equivalents. According to the STAA, these properties remain untouched, contributing significantly to the ongoing housing crisis and exacerbating the challenges faced by individuals seeking affordable housing.
The STAA’s scrutiny of government data sheds light on the pressing issue of funding shortages and their substantial impact on the housing market. The association asserts that the lack of action on these two million properties underscores the urgent need for increased government investment in social housing. By addressing this shortage, the government could potentially alleviate the housing crisis and improve living conditions for a substantial portion of the population.
The identification of new homes, including those with and without planning permission deemed ‘deliverable’ by the authority, constitutes the supply analyzed by councils. These assessments are a part of the councils’ obligation to regularly showcase their plans for meeting local housing needs in the upcoming five years and beyond.
The Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) contends that recent government criticism of platforms like Airbnb and the holiday let industry serves as a diversionary tactic to conceal its own housing-related shortcomings. According to the association, while a registration scheme for all tourist accommodation providers could be beneficial, the proposed measures, including planning requirements for short-term lets, appear to be motivated by an attempt to shift public focus from the government’s challenges in rapidly providing an adequate supply of new housing.
In a statement, the STAA expresses its belief that the government’s emphasis on regulatory proposals for short-term accommodation is a strategic move to deflect attention from the broader housing crisis. The association suggests that such initiatives should not overshadow the imperative for national and local authorities to address the fundamental issue of insufficient and slow-paced new housing developments.
The existing housing landscape in England reveals a stark disparity between the potential for new homes and the actual numbers being constructed. With a mere 178,010 homes completed last year, the immense pipeline of potential developments remains largely untapped. In a country where the total housing stock stands at 25.2 million, the notable figure is the 676,304 vacant units, of which 248,149 have remained unoccupied for an extended period.
Amidst this backdrop, the government has undertaken a consultation process in 2023, focusing on the implementation of a registration scheme and the introduction of new planning requirements for short-term rentals across England. Responding to this, the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) advocates for a comprehensive registration scheme encompassing all operators in the hotel and lodging sector. This proposed scheme not only aims to streamline the industry but also lays the groundwork for any potential future hospitality tourism tax.
In shedding light on the economic dynamics of the short-term rental sector, a report from Oxford Economics underscores its significant contribution. The sector, in 2021 alone, injected £27.7 billion into the UK economy, emerging as a robust economic player. Beyond monetary impact, the sector plays a direct role in sustaining employment, supporting 94,000 jobs and solidifying its standing as a crucial contributor to the country’s workforce.
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