Opinion Former Article

NHF: Housing strategy is a missed opportunity to tackle housing crisis, Federation warns

In response to the Government's housing strategy, David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The Government deserves credit for recognising the huge economic and social value of investing in house-building.

"Increasing the supply of new homes is a key part of tackling the housing crisis - as is affordability and it's vital that we build homes for rent and sale for people on modest incomes.

"Ministers need to be bolder and go much further to fix the broken housing market and they can do it in a way that is effectively cost neutral.

"A public investment of £1bn - matched by £8bn from housing associations - would build 66,000 affordable homes for people on low to middle incomes, create 400,000 jobs and in doing so save the taxpayer £700m in job seeker's allowance not to mention the added savings from housing benefit and increased tax revenues.

"Building affordable housing is a win/win for the taxpayer. Not only does it provide homes for people stuck on waiting lists at the lowest cost to the public purse but it also creates jobs, supports small businesses and gives the economy a quick shot in the arm with a speed and effectiveness no other industry can match.

"It’s vital that new homes built on public land reflect the needs of their local communities and include a significant proportion of affordable housing both for sale and rent.

“To ensure that happens, ministers must make suitable brownfield sites on public land available for free only to developers building affordable homes for families priced out of the local market."

On Right to Buy, Mr Orr said: "Previously Right to Buy was great for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of it, but disastrous for those who later needed a rented home and found a desperate shortage of social homes.

"We cannot allow that to happen again. There must be a cast iron guarantee that at least one new rented home is built for each one sold under Right to Buy.

“Housing associations will want to know how quickly after a home is sold will one be built to replace it, where they will be built and who will fund these discounts.

“If housing associations have to foot the bill for the discounts then inevitably that will mean there will be less money for building much needed affordable homes."

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:: For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Nick Foley in the Federation press office on 0207 067 1028 / 07748 931286.

The National Housing Federation is the trade body for affordable housing in England. Our members manage 2.5 million homes for around 5 million people.
 

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