Spring Budget 2021: Housing, gender and Covid-19

Date Posted: Monday 1st March 2021

View and download the full briefing here.

Key points:

  • Women’s housing situation differs from that of men, and is generally poorer, in terms of affordability, ownership, safety and overcrowding.
  • Housing is a known public health issue. Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, poor housing cost the NHS upwards of £1.4 billion per year.
  • Private renters spend 33% on rent on average. Partly due to the gender pay gap, there is a distinctly gendered difference; average rents in England use up 43% of a woman’s median earnings and only 28% of men’s.
  • In terms of home ownership, the median home in England costs over 12 times women’s median wages (8 times for men).
  • The Help to Buy initiative benefits the relatively privileged; in March 2020 average household income for those using the Help to Buy scheme was £53,322.
  • The treatment of housing assets, rental income and imputed rents (the flow of benefits homeowners get from their homes) in the taxation system is generous, and has been an overlooked option for fiscal and housing policy goals.
  • At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the government suspended evictions for rental tenants, currently active until 31 March 2021.
  • Half a million private renters in the UK are behind on their rents, owing an average of £700. This is a new challenge for many, as 58% in rent arrears were not so before the pandemic.
  • Although men are the vast majority of those sleeping rough (84%), women are the majority of people statutorily homeless (67%).
  • Single mothers are two-thirds of homeless families with children (they are just one quarter of all families with children).

View and download the full briefing here.