Big social housing schemes at risk over funding uncertainty

Aaron Morby 1 month ago
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JV North is warning house building will slow unless funding certainty is given beyond the current Affordable Homes Programme end date.

Housing association call for statement about future AHP
Housing association call for statement about future AHP

With less than two years left of the 2021/26 Affordable Homes Programme, JV North says developments of over 50 homes or those that take longer than 12 months are now at risk.

Usually government-funded programmes overlap with the last two running from 2018 to 2021 and then 2021 to 2026 allowing housebuilding to carry on unabated.

With no announcement made in last month’s Budget, JV North – which comprises of 13 housing association and local authority members from across the North West – says funding certainty is vital for board approval at a time when financial viability is under heavy scrutiny.

For the present funding period the government has allocated £11.4bn to spend on grant-funded affordable homes between 2021 and 2026, split between Homes England, which distributes the cash outside of London, and the GLA, which administers it in the capital.

This was originally conceived to deliver up to 180,000 homes but this is expected to fall a long way short because of economic, financial and policy headwinds impacting delivery.

This has raised fears among social housing providers that delivery of the housing programme is under threat.

JV North Chair, John Bowker, said: “If we do not receive news of the next Affordable Homes Programme soon, there is a danger we will have a fallow period where housebuilding stalls.

“The current programme runs to the end of March 2026 and while circa two years away, it is just around the corner in housebuilding construction terms.

“Larger developments start to become questionable due to the length of time they take to build coupled with not knowing if the remaining funding will be available when they complete.

“Without certainty, housing association boards will be nervous about approving schemes and it could cause a slowdown in delivery – something the country can ill afford given housing shortages and record-high homelessness.

“There is an urgency now for the sector to receive confirmation the Affordable Homes Programme will be extended, the length of the new term and details of the size of the fund available.”

JV North members are Bury Council, Cobalt Housing, Johnnie Johnson Housing, One Manchester, Peaks & Plains Housing Trust, Muir Group, Plus Dane Housing, South Liverpool Homes, Sovini, Stockport Homes, Torus, Weaver Vale Housing Trust and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group.

 

 

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