Final regulations to enact CIL were laid before Parliament this week. They state that social housing – including socially rented and shared ownership homes – will not be liable for CIL. Charitable housing associations might have been able to benefit from the CIL charities exemption included in the 2008 Planning Act.
However this was not certain and the Federation, along with the Chartered Institute of Housing and Shelter, had been lobbying Government hard for full relief from CIL for all affordable housing, both to ensure a level playing-field across the sector and to protect housing associations’ capacity to deliver affordable homes.
During the passage of the 2008 Planning Act, then Planning Minister Baroness Andrews committed to explore the potential of all affordable housing paying a "significantly reduced rate" of CIL.
However this was put in doubt when the draft CIL regulations and consultation document, published in July last year, stated that the Government was not yet convinced of the case for affordable housing receiving any relief from CIL.
High-level lobbying by the Federation and its allies has now paid off after the Government accepted the need for affordable housing to benefit from social housing relief – effectively a zero rate of CIL on virtually all social units developed.
Federation chief executive David Orr said: "The National Housing Federation is delighted Government is introducing social housing relief for the new Community Infrastructure Levy.
"We are grateful John Healey and his CLG officials have listened to our concerns and recognised the need to protect the capacity of housing associations to deliver desperately needed homes during the economic downturn.
"With social housing relief, housing associations’ development programmes will not be hampered by a new development tax that would have reduced their capacity to build social-rented and shared ownership homes.
"With housing building this year slumping to the lowest level since 1923 and a record 4.5 million people stuck on housing waiting lists, this is good news not just for housing associations but for people waiting for a social home."
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