‘Budget not bold enough to tackle housing crisis’

Commenting on the £1billion plan to kick-start the housing market, Federation chief executive David Orr said: "The Chancellor has taken a step in the right direction by identifying some clear ways of kick-starting house-building but unfortunately he hasn’t been bold enough.

"The Government is right to take a stake in housing projects where work has stalled and to make it easier for social housing to be built, but ministers needed to go further.

"We are in the midst of major economic and housing crises and the Chancellor should simply have backed our call to spend £6.35billion of public money on helping housing associations deliver 100,000 new social homes over the next two years.

"Under our proposal, billions of pounds would have been pumped into the economy, a quarter of a million people would have been taken off social housing waiting lists and thousands of construction industry jobs would have been saved.

"We now fear that because the Government has failed to back a comprehensive house-building programme the number of homes delivered this financial year will slump to an 88-year-low of 70,000, while the number of people on social housing waiting lists will simply soar to unparalleled levels."

Commenting on the offer to underwrite new mortgage-backed securities, Orr said: "We welcome moves to increase liquidity in the housing market. Underwriting new mortgage lending has the potential to make a significant contribution to revitalising the mortgage market.

"However, we are disappointed that the Chancellor has failed to compel the nationalised Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley banks to make mortgages available to the thousands of first-time buyers and key workers who are desperate to buy shared ownership homes.

"There are thousands of shared ownership properties lying empty across the country, and thousands of people who want to buy them, but the banks won’t lend on these properties at a competitive rate because they unfairly view them as a higher lending risk.

"This was the Government’s chance to force the nationalised banks to take on a greater social purpose and work in the public’s interest to end this blatant discrimination against people hoping to buy an affordable home."

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