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Autumn Statement is a chance for action on housing, says CIH

Words: Laura Edgar
Housing / Shutterstock_199093037

The Autumn Statement is an opportunity for the government to act on its stated commitment to increase the supply and affordability of housing, says the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

The institute’s submission to the government in advance of the Autumn Statement on 23 November calls for measures to significantly increase the number of affordable rented homes across the UK.

It also calls for increased funding for regeneration and the introduction of measures to improve standards in the private rented sector and tackle homelessness.

Gavin Smart, deputy chief executive of the CIH, said: “We welcome the level of focus on housing by the government recently; in particular, the acknowledgment that enhancing affordability will be central to solving our housing crisis.

“We believe the Autumn Statement is the opportunity to turn this commitment into action and build a substantial amount of new properties at affordable rents.

“This is the only way we can really begin to tackle our housing crisis and make sure people of all incomes have access to a home they can afford.

“We have suggested a number of focused measures we believe could achieve this without significant extra spending in our submission.”

In order to boost house building, the CIH calls on the government to:

  • Introduce greater flexibility to the current Affordable Homes Programme to allow for a larger number of rented homes, including social rent;
  • Restart the Affordable Homes Guarantee, which was popular and would have been subscribed to if it had been extended beyond March 2016;
  • Reshape and extend the housing revenue account borrowing programme for local authorities and exempt them from the remaining stages of the scheme to cut local authority rents in return for extra investment in rented homes;
  • Rethink planning gain requirements to give local authorities more flexibility to meet housing need. Continuing to require affordable or social rent properties as part of planning conditions would help underpin building projects in the near term because it gives builders a guarantee of selling stock; and
  • Increase investment in the government’s £140 million regeneration loan fund of £300 million.

Joseph Kilroy, RTPI Policy Officer, commented: “The RTPI supports the CIH’s calls for an increase in the number of affordable rented homes across the UK. As the national decline in homeownership continues, a range of tenures will be needed for the proper functioning of our cities and counties.

"Incomes and housing costs continue to decouple, and the rental sector continues to grow. The autumn statement provides government with the opportunity to provide a policy response to a truly embedded trend.”

The full submission can be found here.