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Government 1.5bn Housing Pledge for new homes

The Pledge also includes commitments to improve access to social housing by providing tenants and prospective tenants with more choice over the properties available, and commitments to clamp down on those cheating the system, so that more properties are available for those who play by the rules.

The £1.5 billion boost will deliver an additional 20,000 new affordable energy efficient homes over the next two years– and a further 10,000 homes delivered through the private sector. Councils and housing associations will both have a key role in delivery of the new affordable homes. This money will also extend our programme to get stalled housing projects back on track and prepare public sector land for construction of new homes as well as provide up to 45,000 new jobs in the construction and related industries.

Today John Healey will outline proposals to allow councils to keep all the proceeds from their own council house sales as well as their rents when he announces the outcome of the Review of Council Housing Finance.

Mr Healey added that people must believe they have a fair chance of living in these new homes. While preserving security of tenure, changes therefore will be made to the way housing is allocated to allow local authorities to give more priority to local people and those who have spent a long time on a waiting list.

Reforms to be published later this year will ensure the system provides a good start in life for young people, improves employment prospects and offers tenants more choice. And there will be tougher anti-fraud measures to stop people cheating the system through illegal sub-letting, thereby freeing up more homes for those in need.

John Healey will make it easier for councils to take greater control of their housing finances in order to allow them to plan housing priorities in the longer term.

John Healey said:

"The Prime Minister’s housing pledge today is a huge boost to efforts to build more homes the country needs now and in the future. This investment will help fast track construction and I want to see work starting on site within the next few months.

"Alongside the significant increase in housing stock we will also work with councils to ensure the social housing system is responsive to local priorities and preferences.

"Together these announcements signal my intention to get local authorities involved in delivering more housing that their local area needs.  Councils haven’t built significant numbers of housing for a long time, but with this extra cash and an overhaul of the council house funding system I am giving councils the green light to start building more homes in their area. And we are putting our money where our mouth is to fund new Housing Association developments, get mothballed housing projects back on track, and free up public land for more affordable homes.

"In these tough economic times this is also a much needed shot in the arm for the construction industry creating 45,000 new jobs in Britain that will be key to the country making the most of the recovery over the next few years.

"When people see these new homes being built in their communities they need to believe that they or people they know have a fair shot at living in them. That’s why I’m bringing in changes to the councils lettings system, to protect people’s security as tenants but allow councils to give greater priority to local people, and those who have spent a long time on a waiting list, as well as can give tenants more choice.

"Council housing should provide a good start in life for young people and improve their prospects of getting a job.

"We want to shut the door on people who abuse their rights by illegally sub-letting properties. There is no place for those who want to profit from their tenancies. By cracking down on cheats more homes will be freed up for families who really need them."

The £1.5 billion housing investment outlined in Building Britain’s Future includes:

– Extra funding so councils and housing associations can build around 15,500 new affordable homes, of which over 11,000 will be available for social rental and the rest will be affordable housing. More may be built if greater value for money can be achieved.
– Extending the Kickstart programme that gets stalled housing sites back on track, with the aim of delivering an additional 13,000 homes, of which 4,000 will be affordable.
– Investing in the development of public sector land owned by the HCA, Local Authorities and other public sector bodies to deliver up to 1,250 units of which 500 could be affordable.
– This investment will be matched with reforms that deliver value for money and recognise the rights and responsibilities for those in social housing.

While preserving security of tenure these reforms will include:

– Changing the current rules for allocating council and other social housing by enabling councils to give more priority to local people and those who have spent a long time on a waiting list.
– Expanding Choice Based Lettings to help residents to move nationwide, and support to tenants who need to move to take up the offer of a new job.
– Clamping down on fraud within the sector, freeing up more homes for those in need.
– Consulting on reforming the Council House finance system to allow councils to keep all the proceeds from their own council house sales and council rents with a bigger role and responsibility for councils to meet the housing needs of people in their areas.

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