8 September 2020

£12 billion boost for affordable homes

Housing secretary, Robert Jenrick has announced a prospectus inviting bids for the Government’s £12 billion investment in affordable housing.

Delivered over 5 years from 2021 to 2026, it is expected to provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country and will be administered by Homes England, the Governments non-departmental affordable housing body.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “The devil is always in the detail but on the surface, this scheme will deliver positive outcomes for many communities. However, the Government must recognise that until planning reform is delivered, many of these schemes will be difficult to deliver.”

Around half the homes will be affordable shared ownership, with the rest available at social and discounted rents, including 10% for supported housing.

Shared ownership will see some reforms, with buyers only needing to purchase a 10% share. 1% shares will be available with discounted fees and for 10 years, landlords will be responsible for the costs of repairs and maintenance.

Right to Shared Ownership will be available on the vast majority of rented homes. The Home Building Fund will be topped up by an extra £450 million, to help smaller developers.

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning at the House Builders Association (HBA), the housebuilding division of the NFB, said: “We’ve seen these welcomed announcements before but who will deliver the homes? Homes England has a track record of saying they want to support SMEs but PLCs win a lot of the work. We must ensure the companies who will sustain the levelling up agenda, our SMEs, can compete for this pipeline of work.

Access to the Home Building Fund is predicated on achieving planning. Therefore unless planning reform is delivered, the funds will not reach enough players and will be the preserve of the few. This reality even impacts Homes England, the Governments housing body, which also remains at the mercy of the planning system and sees half of its sites without full planning permission.”

For any members wanting to see what sites Homes England currently has on offer can access the list in the member area of the website Click here