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May commits £2bn extra to affordable housing

Words: Laura Edgar
Theresa May / Shutterstock_624878189

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the government will spend an additional £2 billion on affordable housing, as she commits to renewing the British dream of owning a home.

Closing the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, May acknowledged that while the boom in the housing market had benefited some, “for many, the chance of getting onto the housing ladder has become a distant dream”.

Just over 10 years ago, 59 per cent of 25-34 year olds owned their own home, she said. Now, though, only 38 per cent do.

Referencing the fact that she and husband Philip don’t have children, she said that she nevertheless believes in “the dream that life should be better for the next generation as much as any mother. Any father. Any grandparent”.

Dedicating her premiership to restoring hope, to “fixing the broken housing market”, she said she would use her “privileged position” bring the home ownership dream to life.

She noted measures and work already being undertaken – the Help to Buy scheme, introduced because it will take time to translate more housebuilding into more affordable house prices, and plans in the housing white paper, announced in February.

“But the election result showed us that this is not nearly enough. We’ve listened and we’ve learned,” she told the conference.

Another £2 billion is to go towards affordable housing, taking the government’s total affordable housing budget to £9 million.

The government, she said, would encourage councils as well as housing associations to bid for the money to provide certainty over future rent levels. “And in those parts of the country where the need is greatest, allow homes to be built for social rent, well below market level … A new generation of council houses to help fix our broken housing market.”

It would not be quick or easy, said May, but she had made it her “mission” to solve the housing crisis, taking charge of the government’s response, to “make the British dream a reality by reigniting home ownership in Britain once again”.

“And let me say one more thing. I want to send the clearest possible message to our housebuilders. We, the government, will make sure the land is available. We’ll make sure our young people have the skills you need. In return, you must do your duty to Britain and build the homes our country needs.”

Following May's speech, the government released a statement on the additional money, saying it can supply around 25,000 more homes at rents affordable for local people.

Reaction to Theresa May's announcement can be read here on The Planner website.

Image credit | Shutterstock