HCA to modify affordable homes plans
The chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency has promised to work with housing associations to modify the affordable homes programme as developers assess their finances.
Pat Ritchie told delegates at the National Housing Federation conference in Birmingham today that she will work with providers to allocate their homes in the parts of the country where they are needed.
‘We’re very keen to get the clarity of the [stock] profile and make decisions locally before we look at the programme nationally,’ she said.
The £1.8 billion affordable homes programme aims to deliver 170,000 homes across England before 2015.
Ms Ritchie emphasised the fluidity of the programme. She said work carried out now would ensure homes are built throughout the scheme, not just in the final year.
In July the National Audit Office warned the success of the affordable homes programme was being put at risk by the number of homes scheduled for delivery in the final years of the scheme.
The HCA responded by changing its rules on grant allocation so half the money is paid when work begins on a development, rather than the whole amount being paid on completion.
‘The programme that the sector has made is a challenging programme and a good programme,’ Ms Ritchie said. ‘This is a defining period for the ongoing programme and programme management.
‘I’m confident the programme will deliver but it will require active working between the HCA team and the providers who are running the programme.’
She also said that the announcement from ministers earlier this month aimed at stimulating house building ‘really demonstrated that the government sees housing as a means of driving economic growth’.