A multi-billion pound boost to social housing across England has been confirmed by Secretary of State for Communities, The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.
According to Stonewater, the new social housing deal is good news for rural and ‘new town’ communities. Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater Executive Director for Development, commented: “The Housing Secretary’s announcement on more funding for the social housing sector is good news for rural and ‘new town’ communities where there is a chronic and increasing shortage of homes for social rent which young families so desperately need.
“As a housing association with an ambitious development strategy focussed on bringing more affordable housing to these communities, we are pleased to see a commitment to targeted investment in areas where there is a significant affordability gap between the average housing costs in the local open rented market and average costs in the social rented sector. Many of these are in Stonewater’s operating areas across the South, South West and South East and pockets of the Midlands. We also hope this investment will be supported by continuing planning reform so that these urgently-needed homes can be delivered quickly where they are needed most.”
Around 23,000 new affordable homes will be delivered through a £1.67bn government investment deal. This will include at least 12,500 social rent homes in high cost areas in a move to support families struggling to pay their rent. This is part of the government’s £9bn investment in affordable homes, £1.67bn of which was announced in March 2018 for London. This latest funding will deliver homes across the rest of the country.
James Thomson, CEO of Keepmoat Homes, added: “It is very encouraging to see recognition that there are areas outside London, with low levels of affordability, that urgently need this additional support. We need local authorities to be empowered to deliver the housing needed in their local areas. Councils like Leeds and Sheffield have already shown what can be achieved and this funding will allow others to do the same.
We are also pleased to see direct support for affordable housing that meets a range of needs, because leaving the delivery of affordable homes down to negotiation between developers and local authorities can be uncertain, both in terms of the numbers of homes provided and the range of needs met.”
A bidding process will now begin for both programmes, with successful bids for the affordable homes funding notified throughout the year. A list of successful councils who have had their borrowing caps increased will be announced in due course.