Sunday, 26 April 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.

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