Amongst the measures that today’s budget brought in to mitigate the immediate and ongoing economic impact of COVID-19, there were some key housing-related announcements.
- £12bn committed to a new Affordable Homes Programme
- A £1bn Building Safety Fund to remove unsafe cladding from buildings
- £650m of funding to help rough sleepers into more permanent accommodation
- £400m for regional councils to build houses on brownfield sites
- Promise to bring the planning system into the 21st century
- A 1% interest rate cut on the Public Work Loans Board which is used by local authorities to fund housebuilding
A spotlight on the new Programme
With house building targets repeatedly being missed year on year, it will come as a relief that affordable housing remained high up on the Chancellors agenda. The £12bn committed marks a £3bn increase on the existing 5 year Affordable Homes Programme which is due to end in 2021.
With the UK population set to grow by £3m over the next decade, there is pressure on the growth of the residential market and many parts of the country are currently struggling to keep up with the demand.
It means there is a considerable gap to close if the government’s ambition to deliver 300,000 net additional homes a year on average is to be realised.
Prior to this announcement, many housing associations had been forced to put their brakes on development plans due to the programme ending in March of next year, so this additional funding and commitment will be very welcome.