Last updated: 05.10.17

PM pledges £2bn extra funding for council housing

At the Conservative Party conference in Manchester yesterday, prime minister Theresa May revealed her strategy to provide affordable housing with an extra £2 billion.

UK prime minister Theresa May has pledged to pump an extra £2 billion into affordable housing, bringing current government spend on council home programmes to £9 billion.

During her speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester yesterday, Mrs May also confirmed that parliament would be debating legislation for an energy price cap as soon as next week.

Mrs May’s decision to provide Britain’s affordable housing market with an additional £2 billion will likely boost housebuilders and construction groups. She told her audience at the conference - and indeed the nation - that housing would be the central focus of her speech and started with her plans to use public land to grow housing supply in the UK.

Part of her pledged strategy will include the government providing help to local councils so that they can finance new housing projects.

David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, welcomed the announcement, describing it as a “watershed moment” for the UK.

He said: “The additional £2bn will make a real difference to those let down by a broken housing market. Building homes for social rent will make work pay and help bring down the housing benefit bill in the long run by moving people out of costly private lets.

"Housing associations have been unequivocal about their ambition to deliver the homes the nation needs, be that homes to rent or homes to buy. Improved access to finance and land will see housing associations able to unleash their full potential, building on the 48,000 homes they started last year.”

Critics believe that the prime minister’s focus on housing could be to reverse increasing support from the younger generation for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in recent months. In his manifesto, Mr Corbyn promised to substantially increase the council housing building programme.

Yet despite this, Terrie Alafat CBE, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said Mrs May’s decision was “very welcome”, but she was also eager to hear further details.

She said: "The details of exactly how these new homes will be funded and just how many will be for the lowest social rents will be crucial.

“The number of homes for social rent funded by the government collapsed from 36,000 to just over 1,000 between 2010/11 and 2016/17. Reversing this trend will be a significant task – how much of this new funding will be dedicated to building these kinds of homes?”


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