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Housing Announcements – Help to Buy, Affordable Housing Programme and Social Rents

Briefing Paper

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, gave her ‘keynote’ speech at the Conservative Party Conference on 4th October 2017. She used the occasion to make several announcements about housing policy especially regarding ‘Help to Buy’, the affordable housing programme and social rents; sometimes drawing on earlier announcements made by colleagues. Further detail on some aspects was provided afterwards.

This briefing paper focuses on ‘Help to Buy’, the affordable housing programme and social rents. It outlines the government’s policy, the response of the sector and provides some commentary and conclusions.

These announcements represent a significant shift in government housing policy – and not only because of the new rhetoric on social housing. The government has decided to put an additional £26billion into housing - £14billion in increased social housing rents; £10billion in ‘Help to Buy’ and £2billion into the affordable housing programme. Of this, £4billion is to be funded by tenants who are not eligible for housing benefit and the remaining £22billion is to be funded by the taxpayer.

While the allocation of more resources to housing is to be welcomed there are several aspects of these announcements that are a cause for concern.

  • First, the government has not said how this increased expenditure is to be funded.
  • Second, it appears that the government’s approach shows a lack of strategic thinking and poor financial administration.

Your copy of the briefing paper can be freely downloaded by clicking HERE

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