Dissatisfied homeowners and tenants will have simple and quick access to help when things go wrong, thanks to new plans announced by Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.
The onus on local authorities and borough councils to provide affordable housing has never been greater. It’s a weighty responsibility and one that Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (Dudley MBC) take extremely seriously.
Affordable housing includes social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. It can also be a new-build property for use as an affordable home. In making provision for the increased housing demand Dudley MBC, would as a matter of priority, require flooring refurbishments for several of their existing social housing schemes.
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Four million residents live in social housing across the UK and around 79,000 families are stuck in temporary accommodation. It’s no surprise that the impact of dwindling social housing stocks from decades of counter policies is taking its toll.
The government has made steps to combat these issues, with targets for new homes and a focus on affordable housing, but many of these aims seem unachievable in the current market. Aside from the lack of decent, affordable homes, the supply chain tasked with delivering these targets is faced with other challenges. Interest rate increases are affecting borrowing.
Rural landowners have warned that the lack of flexibility in new planning rules which prevent a mix of affordable and market homes from being built on special sites in the countryside will severely limit the chances of solving the rural housing crisis.
The Government has published a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which claims to help build more homes, more quickly in places where people want to live. But according to the CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, changes made to the criteria for Entry Level Exception Sites will now encourage less land being made available for much needed homes in the countryside.
2% of councils in England say that new development in their area meets policy requirements for affordable housing, according to a report by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA).
The research, which was taken from a survey of almost 90 councils, highlights the lack of resources available to local authorities trying to meet demand for affordable homes, with 70% of respondents saying that they are forced to rely ‘substantially’ on developer contributions to secure even this amount.
Councils and charities have long called for government to lift the HRA borrowing cap, which would give local authorities greater freedom to meet housing demand in their areas. The chancellor, Phillip Hammond, last year announced an additional £2bn of funding to help councils fund their own affordable housing projects and a lifting of the HRA borrowing cap, but this has been criticised for being available only in ‘high-value’ areas and for being inaccessible for at least another year.
Terrie Alafat, chief executive of CIH, says new figures from the Office for National Statistics demonstrate the desperate need for new genuinely affordable housing.
Responding to the publication of Housing affordability in England and Wales by the Office for National Statistics, which demonstrates how unaffordable house purchasing has become, Terrie Alafat, chief executive of CIH said “The statistics released by the Office for National Statistics today make for bleak reading.