EXCL James Brokenshire admits Tories must 'raise our game' on housing as he unlocks £500m for social homes

Posted On: 
30th January 2019

Cabinet minister James Brokenshire will today admit the Tories need to “raise our game” on housing as he unlocks £500m for social homes.

Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire will address the London First Building Summit
Credit: 
PA Images

The Communities Secretary will tell a property conference in London that the cash for housing associations will be spread across the country “where it will have the biggest impact”.

But he will highlight that the number of new houses in London was down almost 20% last year, with 21 boroughs showing a dip in their annual supply.

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In a speech to the London First Building Summit, extracts of which have been seen by PoliticsHome, he will say: “There’s no question that we need to raise our game urgently - to seize every opportunity to boost supply across the capital and key transport corridors and deliver for the Londoners who just want a place to call home.”

Mr Brokenshire will argue new housing in the capital “will be key” to reaching the Government target of building 300,000 new homes a year across the country by the middle of the next decade.

And he will say the £497m released nationwide, through tie-ups with building quango Homes England, will allow housing associations to build around 11,000 properties around the nation.

“These strategic partnerships… will give associations from Essex to Eccleston the freedom to spend this money where it will have the biggest impact,” he will tell the conference.

“Taking us a step closer to ambition of delivering 300,000 homes a year.”

The cash is from a £4.5bn pot the Government has set aside for new building, after Theresa May bumped up funding for social housing last year.

'DROP IN THE OCEAN'

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey told PoliticsHome: “This is not new money and is a drop in the ocean compared to the deep cuts to housing investment since 2010.

“The country is now building 30,000 fewer social rented homes a year than we were with Labour.

“After eight years of failure on housing, the next Labour Government will build a million new low-cost homes.”

But Kate Henderson, the chief executive of the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, welcomed the announcement, telling PoliticsHome the tie-ups with Homes England were an "innovative approach to buiding new homes".

The Chartered Institute of Housing meanwhile gave a cautious welcome to the announcement, saying it was "good" to see the partnerships, but urging the Government to invest more in social rented properties. 

Chief executive Terrie Alafat said: “Our analysis shows that 79% of the government’s housing budget goes to the private housing, with just 21% going to affordable housing.

"Rebalancing this budget could make a big difference - it is vital that the government supports councils and housing associations to build more homes for social rent.”

Just 6,463 homes were built for social rent in 2017-18, despite 1.25m families being on waiting lists.

BUILDING

The money announced by Mr Brokenshire will go to housing associations in Bromford, Liverpool, Nottingham, Walsall and Yorkshire.

Housing associations - which are private but not-profit making organisations that build low-cost housing - completed 32,000 new properties in 2017 and 24,000 in the first three quarters of 2018.

Overall, almost 200,000 new homes were built across the UK in 2017, and almost 100,000 in the first half or 2018.