Ministers announced their ambitious house-building plans two years ago, in an effort to tackle the nation’s housing crisis by increasing the number of new homes being built – with a plan to escalate the number of new homes delivered each year to 240,000 by 2016.
However, because of the meltdown in private sector house-building, following the economic downturn, the number of new homes being built has slumped to around 70,000 per year – while the number of people on waiting lists is continuing to soar.
With the effect of the recession and repossessions making the need for social housing even greater, the Federation, which represents England’s housing associations, believes that ministers should try to ensure a minimum of 50,000 new social homes are delivered over the next year.
Housing associations are currently the only organisations still building affordable housing in volume and have delivered around half of all new homes this year.
Under the Federation’s proposals, which are with the Prime Minister and Communities Secretary for their consideration, housing associations would deliver thousands of new social homes through £3.2bn of public investment. One in four of the new homes built under the plan would be funded by housing associations at no cost to the taxpayer.
As well as delivering new homes, the Federation’s proposed house-building drive would pump desperately needed funds into many deprived areas, help boost the construction industry, avoid serious skills shortages and stimulate long term market stability.
Federation chief executive David Orr said: “It is deeply disturbing that, if current trends continue, one in ten of the population would be on waiting lists by 2020.
“The Government was right two years ago to set a target of building 3m homes by 2020, but the programme has been severely dented by the impact of the recession – which has sent the private house-building sector from boom to bust.
“To get house-building back on track we need an urgent affordable house building programme, through which housing associations can quickly deliver thousands of decent homes for social rent.
“If ministers invest £3.2bn, housing associations will complement this with their own investment, and deliver 50,000 new social homes by next June.
“The housing association sector is continuing to build through the recession and is uniquely placed to deliver thousands of new homes over the next 12 months. One in four of these homes would be funded directly by housing associations and wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny.
“This would be an excellent springboard from which to get the house-building programme back on track.”
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