In a major milestone for the sector, PM Theresa May has announced £2bn of new funding for long term partnerships with HA’s to build new affordable and social rent homes. In a first for the sector, the PM herself launched the funding during a passionate speech where she highlighted the valuable contribution housing associations make to society through building homes and communities.
After receiving a warm welcome from the audience, the PM acknowledged that the fact the sector has “for too long and under successive governments been pushed to the edge of the political debate”.
In a speech that recognised the important role of housing associations, the PM challenged HA’s to “use the tools we have given you to not just build new homes, but take the lead in transforming how we think about and deliver housing in this country” suggesting that large scale, high quality developments the country needs require special leadership “leadership you are uniquely placed to provide, your close ties with local communities give you an unparalleled insight into what communities need in a development”.
She praised the work of HA’s who go “over and beyond building and managing properties” and making an “immeasurable difference to tens of millions lives with the potential to transform countless more” and importantly that the government “values housing associations”.
The PM directly responded to queries raised at last year’s conference. Firstly, to plan ahead and secure investment, the sector needs long term certainty on rents, which the PM confirmed has been provided. Secondly a request that LHA cap not be extended to the social sector was accepted and most importantly a request for stability from long term funding has been given with the £2bn funding announcement and a commitment that the fund will stretch as far as 2028/29.
We have long called for more funding to support the delivery of more affordable homes to address the current housing crisis, and for the important role of HA’s not only to be recognised but to be engaged in future delivery plans, and finally it appears our voices have finally been heard.
Although the funding will not be added to the current Affordable Housing Programme, it will be available from 2022, maybe not an immediate fix, but finally longer-term security and funding to deliver new homes.
As an organisation who has passionately campaigned for funding and the role of HA’s and the wider sector to be recognised, we are delighted to see that the government is finally listening to us, and we look forward to supporting HA’s to deliver more homes and importantly engaged and vibrant communities.