Mr Montague believes that recent policy changes represent the most radical reforms to social housing for a generation but provide a positive opportunity for organisations in the sector.
“The Comprehensive Spending Review was harsh, it will impact on all of us, we will need to put the needs of our existing residents first, but housing associations and local authorities have been given a strong hand to deliver new affordable homes in partnership” Mr Montague explained.
“Housing associations now have the flexibility to match their rents on new lets to the market place. We remain attractive to private investors; we can commit our reserves and take a step forward as the State steps back. Local authorities have valuable land and housing assets, the right to choose who we house, and control over planning. Together these are the essential ingredients that will be needed to create homes and communities where people can afford to live.”
October’s Spending Review reduced the amount the Government spends on capital grant to construct affordable homes but committed the private sector to meeting the target for 150,000 new homes in the next four years.
The Government White paper “Universal Credit: Welfare that Works’ includes a commitment that housing benefit will continue to be paid directly to social landlords.
Mr Montague said: “The Work and Pensions Secretary has sent a message to our investors that their concerns are understood, and their continued commitment is vital.
“The next step for us is to liaise with our local authority partners and develop a business model that works effectively for them and for the people living in their area.”
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