The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent thinktank, has identified the massive shortfall of affordable homes in England, exposing the government’s building plans as falling woefully short of what is required.

Supply has fallen short of demand by 30,000 every year since 2011, meaning that demand is outstripping new supply by 500 homes a week. On average 47,520 additional affordable homes have been provided in England each year since 2011, leading to a cumulative shortfall of 182,880 homes. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s acting head of policy and research, Brian Robson, said:

“If delivery continues at the current rates by the end of this parliament, by 2022 that would have reached 335,000 homes.”

“That’s equivalent to a city the size of Leeds,” Mr Robson said.

The Foundation suggests a step change is needed to boost the supply of affordable homes, as the current shortage sees families locked into precarious, expensive rental contracts, which often adds to the housing benefit bill which has ballooned to £23.4bn a year.

The government is due to release a green paper on social housing this spring. Theresa May announced last year that the government will spend an extra £2bn on affordable housing, which is expected to deliver 5,000 homes each year. However, Campbell Robb, JRF chief executive, said:

“We need to fix the broken housing market and get the country building, but this must include homes people on low incomes can afford. The government can start by building 78,000 genuinely affordable homes a year.”

“The forthcoming social housing green paper must commit to increasing the supply of low-cost rented homes.”

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is an independent organisation working to inspire social change through research, policy and practice.

Affordable housing includes social rental properties, provided through councils or housing associations, or homes in shared ownership.