Wednesday, 04 March 2015

Prisk wants more ‘ambitious’ plans from landlords

The housing minister has called on more housing associations to ‘step up to the plate’ and bring forward ambitious plans for building more homes.

Mark Prisk said he will be calling a summit in the early autumn to hear how landlords intend to build more homes.

Speaking at a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors conference yesterday, he said in return for £3.3 billion in grant - announced in the spending review last month - the government would be calling on housing associations to bring forward plans ‘which maximise their own financial contribution and help us build the extra homes we all want’.

‘Housing associations tell me they’re up for it,’ he said. ‘Great. But now we need to turn this into action.’

At the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester last month Mr Prisk said landlords taking part in the next round of affordable rent would have to enter into ‘something for something’ efficiency deals with the government. He told delegates at that conference developing associations bidding for grant must consider all relets for conversion into affordable rent properties.

Graham Duncan, deputy director of affordable housing regulation and investment at the Communities and Local Government department, has since clarified that the government will not expect all relets to be turned into affordable rent homes, but that it is ‘expecting the sector to think much harder about using more re-lets for affordable rent’.

In his speech yesterday Mr Prisk said that the annual building rate for affordable homes would be accelerated to 55,000 from next year. He highlighted London and Quadrant and Sovereign Housing as success cases, with L&Q last year making £11 million in operating savings and Sovereign adopting a strategic approach to stock rationalisation.

Mr Prisk also said yesterday it was ‘time [private house builders] raised their game’ and he will be inviting leading companies to meet with him to explain how they intend to speed up building rates.

Readers' comments (33)

  • Tenants do not want, and cannot afford "Affordable Rent". Do HAs need to be stronger about protecting social rent housing?

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  • As Maggie Thatcher once said - governments can only spend other people's money - as they do not have any money of their own.

    Today in the real world - we have JRF telling us that 11.2 million families are in poverty - despite 6.1 million being in work - and the new phenomenon of the "squeezed middle".

    That said - with voids running at around 4% pa nationally - we have maybe 150,000 social homes up for grabs every year - which would eradicate existing 1.8 million waiting list over next 12 years - without building a single new property in SRS.

    Had we in the past not let 12% of the SRS stock to those who were not born in UK - but who may have subsequently gained UK citizenship - there would be even fewer on waiting list.

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  • Go on Realist- blame jonny foreigner- simple views for simple minds-so SAD

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  • And if those voids are relet as "affordable rent" they will be lost as homes suitable for those on a low-income, for ever. It's not right. They will all, also, push up the HB bill in perpetuity.

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  • Chris

    Yes Realist, let's ignore the privatisation of 4 to 5 million social homes and their being made available to the highest bidder through buy-to-let. Why not ignore the impact this has had on waiting lists being so much larger than population demographics. Whilst we are at it why not also ignore the succession of anti-family policy that has contributed to the massive rise in single adults heading up households and what this has done to housing demand. Indeed why not ignore the longevity of citizens increasing meaning homes are not recycled as quickly as they used to be.

    Yes, the working poor exist in massive and growing numbers Thomas - why does that surprise you; it is common knowledge to those of us who actually work in the housing sector instead of leach off of it.

    You so much need a reality check Thomas - which is ironic really!

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  • The slower we add to waiting list - the sooner it is eradicated!

    With UK wages being driven ever downward in real terms - via economic migration from EU especially - there will be even less incentive for welfare recipients to work.

    Lower wages mean less tax revenue - and lesser ability for central government to provide capital subsidy to social landlords - as well as ongoing HB support to those same social landlords.

    Housing can not be looked at via silo mentality - it is part of the UK economy - and the UK economy is now hostage to the wider global economy.

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  • I already recently posted that ageing demographic probably decreases housing stock by up to 15%.

    I expressed no surprise at poverty stats - I have been well aware of that for decades via independent research - it is a natural outcome of falling real wages which I have posted on earlier on a number of occasions.

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  • Paul Jones - If you are right about AR pushing up HB bill "in perpetuity" - and personally I am absolutely sure that you are right - then it follows that you see little hope of a typical social tenant being employed.

    By which I mean the 70% of working age...

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  • RTB "real impact" on available social housing stock has already been debated on IH - with an overwhelming view that it has had little impact - given that SRS is cheapest tenure of all 3 tenures - and without RTB it is highly likely that majority of secure tenants would have remained in situ - with many handing over tenancy on their demise to a co-resident offspring.

    Thus that stock element would not be available to let - other than the 4% annual voids.

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  • To answer "Realist" - The social housing in my street contains a mix of long-term sick people, many low-paid working people, some retired people and a few simply unemployed. The concensus seems to be that the higher rents are very frightening because, for those on a low wage they jsut can't afford it, for those on benefits and hoping to get back to work, a bigger benefits trap. There is also the factor of a higher rent feeling intmiidating even if HB pays it for you. I'd rather be a person taking under £90 off the stae in rent if need be, than £200 a week (the difference between social and "affordable" rent in London. AR is and feels like an expensive trap.

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