Prime Minister Theresa May has told housing associations they will be given £2bn worth of investment over the next 10 years, in a bid to ease the house-building crisis.
Mrs May said secure long-term funding for new schemes is one of the key ways to ease the housing crisis, on Wednesday at the National Housing Federation Summit 2018.
Mrs May is the first Prime Minister to address the summit, and acknowledged that social housing had been pushed to the “edge of debate” for far too long.
Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister Sarah Jones warned that the Prime Minister’s “warm words” would not solve the housing crisis, adding that the funding announced was not enough.
Outgoing NHF chief executive David Orr 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.”
Deputy Chief Executive of Chartered Institute of Housing, 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.”
‘Building the homes this country needs’
Mrs May described the funding as “entirely new money” which can be applied to the period up to 2028/9.
She said: “You said that if you were going to take a serious role in not just managing but building the homes this country needs, you had to have the stability provided by long-term funding deals.
“Well, eight housing associations have already been given such deals, worth almost £600 million and paving the way for almost 15,000 new affordable homes.
“And today, I can announce that new longer-term partnerships will be opened up to the most ambitious housing associations through a ground-breaking £2 billion initiative. Under the scheme, associations will be able to apply for funding stretching as far ahead as 2028/29 – the first time any government has offered housing associations such long-term certainty.
“Doing so will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.”