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Affordable Housing

Volume 643: debated on Tuesday 26 June 2018

Our record on the provision of social housing is a strong one with over 378,000 affordable homes delivered since 2010. This included 273,000 homes for rent, and over 10,400 council homes built between 2010-11 and 2016-17, up from 2,920 over the previous 13 years.

The Government are committed to increasing support for more social housing. I am delighted to announce the launch of bidding for two flagship social housing programmes—additional funding for the affordable homes programme and an increase in housing revenue account borrowing. Together these will release over £2.6 billion of additional investment in those parts of the country where the need is greatest to help local authorities and housing associations build the homes that their communities need. Eligibility for this funding will be determined by the difference between private and social rents in local areas.

Today’s announcement confirms that £1.67 billion will be spent on delivering 23,000 additional affordable homes outside of London and could lever in total investment by housing associations and councils of up to £3.5 billion. This investment will help those who are struggling most, by delivering at least 12,500 homes for social rent in areas of the country where the difference between private and social rents are above average.

This announcement completes the allocation of the £9 billion affordable homes programme which will deliver at least 250,000 affordable homes by March 2022. At the spring statement we confirmed an additional £1.67 billion for London.

The Government are also committed to a step change in council house building. I am today launching bidding for the £1 billion housing revenue account borrowing programme, announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at autumn Budget. We need a stronger, more diverse housing market, and this additional borrowing programme recognises the vital role that local authorities can play in building new homes to meet local needs. The additional borrowing will be split equally between London and the rest of the country, and at least £500 million will be available to London boroughs with London boroughs also eligible to bid for further funding from the remaining £500 million.

By opening up bidding, local authorities in areas where private sector rents are higher will be able to borrow more for new housing development between 2019-20 and 2021-22. Local authorities will have flexibility to consider the bidding routes most suited to their needs: additional borrowing only, or additional borrowing to be used alongside either unspent right to buy receipts or affordable homes programme grant.

I want to see eligible local authorities bidding into the programme, demonstrating their ambition and appetite to build new council homes, and showing how the sector can contribute to tackling the country’s housing needs. The additional borrowing programme will help to support the delivery of a new generation of council houses to fix our broken housing market.

I am placing a copy of the affordable homes programme addendum and the “Additional Housing Revenue Account Borrowing Programme: Prospectus for local authorities outside London” in the Library of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords.