New affordable homes plan to get Britain building

A programme to build up to 165,000 new affordable homes over 3 years is an essential part of the government’s long-term economic plan, Housing Minister Kris Hopkins announced today (27 January 2014).

The ambitious scheme will achieve the fastest rate of affordable housebuilding for 20 years, support 165,000 jobs in construction and sustain thousands of British businesses.

Starting today housing associations, councils, and housebuilders will be invited to bid for government funding that, when combined with private investment, will deliver a £23 billion programme between 2015 and 2018.

By putting in more private sector funding than previous programmes, the scheme will achieve a better deal for taxpayers.

New jobs and more trade for small businesses

Every home built under the scheme will support a person’s job. That means 165,000 job opportunities over 3 years in every part of the country, many for young people.

The building programme will also provide a boost to thousands of small businesses that supply building materials to developers, from timber traders to tile makers.

Almost a million independent firms are involved in the construction industry, accounting for 20% of all small and medium-sized companies, and businesses that supply building products have an annual turnover of more than £50 billion, which contributes 4.5% to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product.

Mr Hopkins said housebuilding was at its highest level since 2007, and construction orders were increasing at the fastest rate for 10 years, but it was now vital that councils provided more land for new homes, and the surge of housebuilding continues to grow.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said:

“Housebuilding is an essential part of this government’s long-term economic plan. That’s why we have designed an ambitious new scheme to build affordable homes at the fastest rate for 20 years.”

“Our programme will support 165,000 jobs in construction, sustain thousands of small businesses and provide homes where future generations can live and raise families of their own.”

Building homes that families need

Housing associations applying for funding will have to focus on delivering new homes that are in short supply in their local area. In many communities this could mean building more 1 and 2 bedroom homes, so that smaller households can move to more suitably-sized accommodation.

Some social landlords own very valuable homes in the most expensive parts of towns and cities, and they will need to demonstrate that they are using their property portfolio in the most effective way possible.

This means that when a home they rent becomes vacant, they will have to consider whether to re-let the property to a new tenant, or sell that property and use the money to build new homes, so more families can benefit from decent, affordable accommodation.

Stability for the sector

Housing associations responsible for delivering new homes under the programme will also benefit from the certainty and stability of the new rent policy announced by the Chancellor in June’s Spending Review.

The 10-year rent deal from 2015 will provide the longest period of certainty the sector has ever been given, and will give landlords confidence to plan long term housing development.

Building on success

The new scheme will build on the success of the current affordable housing programme. It is on track to deliver 170,000 homes by 2015, which means 335,000 new affordable homes will be delivered between 2011 and 2018.

The current programme has created thousands of jobs and supported small businesses across the country. Examples include:

  • Bath Riverside, Bath – built by Crest Nicholson, the development has created 100 local jobs, including 5 apprenticeships. Half the construction materials have been sourced locally, including local Bath stone
  • North Prospect Regeneration, Plymouth – built by Barratts and Plymouth Community Homes, the development used local companies, Sheffield Insulation, based in Plymouth, and Pasquill Roof Trusses, based in Bodmin, for construction materials
  • Marina View, Falmouth – built by Sanctuary and Kier living, the development created 27 jobs, 30 work placements and sustained 32 apprenticeships in the local area
  • Rainforest Walk, Bracknell – the development on a former garage site used local builder RJ Leighfield and Sons, and created 40 local jobs opportunities, ranging from ground works to window fitters
  • Old Trafford, Manchester – the scheme across three sites in the Trafford area used Warrington-based company Cruden Construction, who used local subcontractors wherever possible. Twenty local tradesmen are working on one site, and 16 young people have benefited from work placements, leading to 2 apprenticeships
  • Petre Wood, Langho, Lancashire – built by local company Hargreaves Contracting Limited, the development created 8 local jobs

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