Social housing boost as government commits £8.4bn to new homes

    Social housing will get a major boost over the next three years with a £8.4bn investment by the government to deliver on its commitment to build 157,000 new homes by 2011.

    The funding package, part of the Regional Housing Pot, was announced yesterday by housing minister Yvette Cooper.

    The government set out its commitment to build at least 70,000 affordable homes a year, including 45,000 social homes, by 2011 in the housing green paper. It has also allocated an additional £2bn to improve existing social housing.

    From next year, a national £15m action plan to tackle severe housing overcrowding will launch in all London boroughs and five other local authorities. In London more than a third of households are overcrowded.

    The National Housing Federation, which represents English housing associations, welcomed the government’s announcement on social housing as it gave the sector “a challenging, but realistic platform from which to meet the government target”.

    David Orr, chief executive of the Federation, said housing associations will now have to find a further £12bn through private loans and their own reserves to meet the 157,000 target.

    In a speech to the Housing Corporation and Chartered Institute of Housing yesterday, Cooper said: “Social housing has been part of the fabric of the nation for more than 100 years and now it must meet the needs of the 21st century too.

    “Social housing should help people get on in life, not hold them back. That means supporting people, not just investing in bricks and mortar. We must do more not only to help families out of overcrowded homes, but also to give people more choice and opportunity in housing.”

    More information:

    Department for Communities and Local Government

    Tackling overcrowding in England: An action plan

    Regional Housing Pot

    Housing green paper

    Housing Corporation

    Chartered Institute of Housing

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