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Poorest households spend biggest proportion of income on housing, says think tank

POLITICAL parties need to get “serious” about easing the heavy burden of the housing crisis on those with the lowest incomes, a think tank has said.

Ahead of next month’s general election, the Resolution Foundation today urged parties to recognise that lower-income households need the most help after being at the sharpest end of the crisis.

It said that for the poorest households with the bottom fifth of incomes, the proportion of money spent on housing has more than doubled since 1980 — from 15p to 40p in every pound.

In comparison, the average-income household in 1980 spent 10p of every pound of income on housing — which has now doubled to 20p.

The foundation attributed this huge increase to higher social rents, more households renting in the private sector and declining support from housing benefit — all of which have wiped out 90 per cent of all income gains since the early 2000s.

Resolution Foundation research and policy analyst Daniel Tomlinson said: “Political parties … need to address the legacy left from 40 years of higher housing costs.

“As incomes have not risen at anywhere near the same pace as housing costs, families have dedicated a greater share of their income to housing.”

The Inequality Street research also highlighted the struggle to get on the property ladder for younger generations.

It found that home ownership among 25 to 34-year-olds has nearly halved since a peak in 1989 — from 50 per cent to just 28 per cent.

High house prices relative to family incomes mean it will remain difficult for young families to save a deposit big enough to get on the housing ladder, the think tank said.

Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey blamed the Tories for exacerbating the problem by cutting funds for new social housing and acting to benefit private landlords.

He said: “Sky-high housing costs are hurting living standards, but the Conservatives have made the problem worse by slashing funding for new low-cost homes and refusing to help private renters.

“Labour will invest in new council and social homes in every area of the country and control runaway private rents.”

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