In a speech to the National Housing Federation Summit, Theresa May said the new funding would give housing associations the long-term certainty they need to deliver tens of thousands of new affordable and social homes.
She told housing association chiefs: “You said that if you were going to take a serious role in not just managing but building the homes this country needs, you had to have the stability provided by long-term funding deals.
“Well, eight housing associations have already been given such deals, worth almost £600m and paving the way for almost 15,000 new affordable homes.
“Today, I can announce that new longer-term partnerships will be opened up to the most ambitious housing associations through a ground-breaking £2bn initiative.
She added: “Under the scheme, associations will be able to apply for funding stretching as far ahead as 2028/29 – the first time any government has offered housing associations such long-term certainty.
“Doing so will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.”
The Prime Minister said that in return housing associations must use their unique combination of qualities – from their close ties with local communities to their expertise as property managers and their ability to ride out the business cycle and carry on building – “to achieve things neither private developers nor local authorities are capable of doing”.
PM call to improve design and quality of affordable homes
“On a new mixed-tenure development, the social housing should not be tucked away behind the private homes, out of sight and out of mind.
As you look from building to building, house to house, you should not be able to tell simply by looking which homes are affordable and which were sold at the market rate.
The quality of aesthetic, design and build should not be any lower just because a property is to be managed by a housing association.
Some say that quantity, quality and affordability must always be traded off against one another.
Well to them, I say look at the Nansledan development outside Newquay.
A whole new community being built to meet local needs and with the support of local people.
Thousands of homes of all types and tenures.
All of the highest quality, in keeping with traditional local styles, and with no way of telling from the outside which properties are being built for housing associations and which are destined for the private market.”
Félicie Krikler, director of Assael Architecture, said: “This is a necessary addition to previous government’s initiatives towards social housing.
“It now appears to finally be accepted among the top-tiers of government that fixing the UK’s housing market requires a substantial increase in the amount – and quality – of social housing units available across the country.”
Jonathan Layzell, development director at housing association Stonewater said: “The announcement represents a significant pledge by government which will allow us to plan more effectively for the long term and maximise the number of new homes we can build in future.
Ben Denton, Managing Director of Legal & General Affordable Homes said: “This will help to deliver more homes at levels that residents can afford in areas which need it most.
“While good news, there is still more work to be done. Over the past decade, only 3,000 affordable homes have been delivered each year, highlighting the need to smooth the way for more institutional money to enter the sector.
“Having recently launched our affordable homes business, we are looking forward to proactively working with government and local authorities to bring forward institutional funding to deliver the additional affordable housing that the nation so desperately needs.”