We are a nation of small landlords - and big renters

Review calls for affordable housing quota to be cut. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Today a government commissioned report says there are big barriers to building homes desperately needed for rent across Britain. Some of these constraints are to do with planning regulations - others to do with investment - or lack of it.

The number of people relying on rented property has gone up sharply since the 1980s - 3.6 million households live in homes owned by private landlords.

What this review of rented homes suggests is that often new building is prevented by councils insisting that developments include a quota of affordable homes. Today's report says these should be waived.

The panel of experts that has written this review for government says relaxing planning rules would allow more homes to be built for the rental market. But its already led to an angry response. Shelter has been telling us the proposals could harm the most vulnerable.

There is pressure on government to get Britain building. Today's reports says that for every £1 invested in construction - £2.60 is generated elsewhere in the economy - because builders need so many suppliers.

But there are very few large organisations willing to invest in creating more homes for rent. This is a nation of small landlords - only 15 own more than 10 properties.