Grant funding to continue after spending review
Housing associations will continue to receive grant to build homes post-2015 through a repeat of the affordable rent programme, the housing minister has said.
Grant Shapps said that there would be another round of affordable rent when the current spending review comes to an end, and that the value of housing association stock would bring more money in on top of any government money available.
‘No one can predict the future, but there’s likely to be another round of affordable housing and affordable rent. It’s interesting and relevant that the opposition have never said we’re against this affordable rent and I think every government in the future will look to do these things [affordable rent programmes] and the next year or so will be a time to take stock.’
He added: ‘I find it difficult to imagine a world where there is no government grant in housing.’
He said the affordable homes programme was created as a ‘rough and ready exercise’ but that he was pleased with its progress and the fact that it was oversubscribed.
He used his appearance at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester to congratulate the sector on their work to leverage £15 billion on top of the £4.5 billion the government committed to the affordable homes programme.
‘This figure has absolutely amazed me,’ he said. ‘We’ve leveraged a lot more cash in and we’re going to get a lot more bang for our buck.’
In a briefing ahead of the session he said: ‘Now we have an opportunity in the next spending review to use the balance sheets of the sector – and it’s a huge figure – if you take the value of social stock out there it’s, according to Savills, around £450 billion which does mean there is more value to extract and build and there’s more flexibility that can be used.
‘Why have housing association and councils sat on a really expensive stock when they could build?’
Mr Shapps did add that he did not want to see the total demise of socially-rented stock: ‘I’m not an absolutist on this,’ he said. ‘I think we’ll always need social rent.’