The Secretary of State for Communities, The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, has confirmed a multi-billion-pound investment in social housing across England. This comes as part of the drive to build much needed homes for people who are struggling financially. Since 2010, over 378,000 affordable homes have been built. However, the government aims to do more in light of the housing and homelessness crisis.
Overall, the government will be investing £9 billion to build affordable homes, of which £1.67 billion will be spent to build homes in London, as previously announced in March 2018. The government has promised that approximately 23,000 new, affordable homes will be built. At least 12,500 social rent homes will be built in high-cost areas, to support families who are finding it difficult to pay their rent.
Financial Flexibility for Local Authorities
The Communities Secretary has also invited local authorities to bid for a share of £1 billion extra borrowing to build homes that are urgently needed. The borrowing cap will be divided equally between London and the rest of England.
Local authorities requested this extra financial flexibility and will be allocated to people in areas that face the highest affordability pressures. This is to ensure that homes are built where they are needed the most. Affordability pressure is defined as an area where there is a difference of £50 or more per week between average private sector rents and social sector rents.
What is the Overall Aim?
All of these new measures are part of the government’s ambitious plan to build 1.5 million new homes by 2022, through planning reform and targeted investment. The Communities Secretary hopes that the new plans will lead the way to a new generation of council houses.
A bidding process will now begin, with successful bids for the affordable homes funding notified throughout the year. Furthermore, a list of successful councils who’ve had their borrowing caps increased will be announced in due course.