May pledges £2bn for affordable homes & calls for an end to social housing ‘stigma’

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Theresa May has told  housing associations they have £2bn worth of investment over the next 10 years  in order to help ease the housing crisis

At the National Housing Federation summit 2018 May said secure long-term funding for new schemes is one of the key ways to ease the housebuilding crisis.

The PM announced £2bn to build new homes in England, in an attempt to remove the “stigma” of social housing.

As part of the plan, housing associations, councils and other organisations will be able to bid for the money to spend on new projects, starting from 2022.

Labour said the announcement fell “far short” of what was needed for the social housing sector.

Addressing the National Housing Federation summit May said: “Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority.

“On the outside, many people in society – including too many politicians – continue to look down on social housing and, by extension, the people who call it their home.”

May offered offer longer-term investment for housing associations, asking in return that they take “more of a lead” in large-scale development.

David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The announcement of £2bn of new money for social housing is extremely welcome – but the really big news here is the Prime Minister’s long-term commitment to funding new affordable homes.

“This represents a total step change. For years, the way that money was allocated meant housing associations couldn’t be sure of long-term funding to build much-needed affordable housing.

“Now, by changing the way in which they allocate funding, ministers have given long-term confidence and confirmed that we are trusted partners in solving the housing crisis, building new homes and communities.

“Ultimately, this will have a huge impact on building the affordable homes that thousands of people across the country desperately need.”

Chartered Institute of Housing deputy chief executive Gavin Smart said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement is an important recognition of the vital role played by housing associations, and social landlords generally, in building new homes and providing people with a place to live that they can be proud to call home.

“Long-term certainty will give housing associations the confidence they need to invest. And long-term partnerships will enable more housing associations to take the lead in developing their own land and reduce their reliance on private developers, helping to boost the numbers of new homes we build as a nation.

“But, as the Prime Minister recognises in her speech, it’s crucial that government investment helps housing associations to build the right kind of homes at the right prices.

“In practice this means building more homes at the lowest social rents – which is often the only truly affordable option for people on lower incomes.”

May said too many politicians still “continue to look down” on social housing, giving way to “a certain stigma” that leaves residents “marginalised and overlooked”.

The £2bn, she said, is “entirely new money” and a longer-term allocation will be welcomed by the sector as making construction planning more feasible.

May also used her speech to strengthen the steps government has already taken to respond to the requirements of the sector – including providing long-term certainty on rents and agreeing not to extend the local housing allowance cap to the social sector.

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