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19/09/2018

£2bn government cash for housing associations

Words: Laura Edgar
Prime Minister Theresa May / Shutterstock

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced £2 billion in funding for housing associations in an bid to give them the ‘long-term certainty’ they need to have a ‘central’ role in helping to address the housing crisis.

Speaking at the National Housing Federation Summit today (19 September), she pledged to work in partnership with housing associations to get more people on the housing ladder as well as to make sure those who cannot afford to own have somewhere they can be proud to call home.

The government has already announced several measures to support housing associations, including not extending the local housing cap to the social sector.

“You said that if you were going to take a serious role in not just managing but building the homes this country needs, you had to have the stability provided by long-term funding deals,” said May.

Eight housing associations have been given deals worth £600 million, she continued, before announcing that new longer-term partnerships will be opened up to the “most ambitious housing associations through a groundbreaking £2 billion initiative”.

“Under the scheme, associations will be able to apply for funding stretching as far ahead as 2028/29 – the first time any government has offered housing associations such long-term certainty.

“Doing so will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.”

May also called on housing associations to use their “unique qualities”, such as ties with local communities and expertise and property managers, “to achieve things neither private developers nor local authorities are capable of doing”.

“Rather than simply acquiring a proportion of the properties commercial developers build, I want to see housing associations taking on and leading major developments themselves. Because creating the kind of large-scale, high-quality developments this country needs requires a special kind of leadership – leadership you are uniquely well-placed to provide.”

The stigma

May spoke about a “certain stigma” that clings to social housing, noting that some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and don’t say they live in a local authority or housing association home. She wants people to be proud of the home they live in.

“Our friends and neighbours who live in social housing are not second-rate citizens. They should not have to put up with second-rate homes. And that applies to management every bit as much as design and construction.”

She urged housing associations to use their “unique status, rich history and social mission” to change the way tenants and society view social housing.

Industry reaction to the funding can be found here on The Planner website.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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