Theresa May is vowing to provide housing associations with a £2bn cash injection as she looks to supply the long-term certainty needed to deliver tens of thousands of new affordable homes.
The prime minister is to address the National Housing Federation Summit today and will reaffirm her personal mission to get more people on the housing ladder. The new investment will allow housing associations to apply for money over the next decade to give them greater financial security. The “most ambitious" providers will be able to bid for money to last them until 2028-29.
Addressing the summit, May will say: “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.”
She is also urging housing associations to use their “unique status, rich history and social mission” to change the way tenants and society as a whole view social housing and the end the stigma associated with council houses.
“For many people, a certain stigma still clings to social housing,” she added. “Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority. And 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. We should never see social housing as something that need simply be “good enough”, nor think that the people who live in it should be grateful for their safety net and expect no better.”
Along with a commitment to more funding, the government has reaffirmed its commitment to over £40bn to get more homes built by creating the infrastructure to unlock sites where they’re needed most and removing unnecessary barriers to homebuilding.
Commenting on the funding announcement, 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.
But responding to the investment, shadow housing secretary John Healey said the prime minister’s promises “fall far short of what’s needed”.
“The reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed so the number of new social rented homes built last year fell to the lowest level since records began. If Conservative ministers are serious about fixing the housing crisis they should back Labour’s plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council housebuilding programme for over 30 years.”