Housing funding handed back…but not all bad news.

By Victoria Tomlinson · 14 July 2023

You could be forgiven for feeling a bit ’doom and gloom’ this week as we heard that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has handed back almost £2bn of housing funding to the Treasury.

According to freedom of information requests seen by the Guardian, and confirmed by DLUHC, the department underspent by more than £600m on the affordable housing programme in the year and was forced to hand £255m back to the Treasury, with £363m being “re-profiled” for later years. In addition, the paper reported it had handed back £245m of funding for building safety repairs and £1.2bn of money allocated for Help to Buy. As the Help to Buy scheme has now closed, the money cannot be re-profiled to be spent at a later date and is now lost to the department.

It has been widely reported that the current economic volatility has led to developers slowing or pausing work and many developing housing organisations have had to reallocate business plan budgets for decarbonisation and building safety work.

There has though been good news however, with Homes England recently announcing their intention to fund replacement homes, enabling regeneration to become a viable option for developing organisations again.

Plus, Keepmoat pledging to build 4,000 homes in the West Midlands as the combined authority’s latest strategic partner. Keepmoat vowed to increase its housebuilding in the region by 50% and aimed to achieve net zero carbon emissions when building on brownfield sites as part of the deal. The partnership is the latest in a series of deals for the combined authority, led by mayor Andy Street, including agreements with St Modwen, Lovell and L&G. The latter has pledged to invest £4bn in the region over the next six years.

The time is definitely now to discuss schemes, previously dismissed on viability grounds, with Homes England. None of us want more grant to be unspent and handed back.  Here at ARK, we have experienced Regeneration and Development Consultants and Interims who can support your team with developing proposals and supporting your discussions with Homes England. Let’s get their money spent!

If you would like to hear more about how we can help you, get in touch with me at vtomlinson@arkconsultancy.co.uk or call 0121 5153831.

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