Alafat: Housing strategy does not go far enough
The architect of the government’s housing strategy has admitted the measures contained within the document will not address England’s housing crisis.
Terrie Alafat, director of housing growth and affordable housing at the Communities and Local Government department, told the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference yesterday that further measures will be needed.
‘The problems that we are facing are quite stark,’ she said. ‘We were not building enough homes when the economy was much more buoyant… now the challenge is even more compounded.’
The Laying the foundations strategy was published in November 2011 and contained a range of initiatives to improve housing supply, including the Newbuy mortgage indemnity guarantee scheme, and funding to kick-start stalled sites.
It has been followed with a major overhaul of the planning system, but Ms Alafat said these measures do not go far enough. ‘We need to lay the foundations for a more systemic shift,’ she said.
‘There has been quite a lot of change and we are not yet clear what the total impact will be. Some of this still needs to bed down and we need to look at what works well and what needs further work.’
She suggested the options being considered are unlikely to include significant government investment, saying the next spending review would be ‘challenging’ and money is in ‘short supply’.
Speaking at the same conference session Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the CIH, said the government must find ways to put more money into affordable housing.
‘Subsidised housing needs subsidy,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t work without it.’
Mr Smart added that this investment did not have to be in the form of grant, and other models such as offering guarantees could be a ‘win win’ for government and the housing sector.
He said the housing sector and government will need to work closely together to overcome the lack of supply: ‘We all need to see what homes we can provide.’