The Government are already investing £8 billion in affordable housing (for both social rent and low cost home ownership) through the new Homes and Communities Agency in 2008-11—a £3 billion increase compared to previous years.
The low cost home ownership programme is helping to make home ownership more affordable to first time buyers throughout England through a range of shared ownership and shared equity schemes. In response to the current difficult market conditions, we have expanded the availability of shared equity, which allows qualifying first time buyers to buy a property with the help of an equity loan (which can be used as a deposit). This includes the introduction of the new HomeBuy Direct scheme (which will give up to 18,000 first time buyers the opportunity to access affordable home ownership with an equity loan of up to 30 per cent. (funded on equal terms by Government and the participating developers).
We recently announced that local authorities would be invited to bid for social housing grant to build new affordable housing. We are now consulting on changes to the revenue and capital rules which would enable them to compete for this subsidy.