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Government to consider flexible affordable housing funding

Housing providers could be given the flexibility to bid for a larger mix of affordable housing funding after the government has stated that it will give the cause some consideration.

Although housing minister Gavin Barwell has said that the government remains committed to its home ownership agenda, he did say that the country needs more homes for sale and private rent as well as more sub market homes for rent.

In addition to this, he highlighted that housing associations currently deliver a third of new homes per year despite knowing they can do more.

He also mentioned funding for shared ownership and rent to buy, as well as starter homes, specifically in relation to more rural housing challenges.

Speaking at the National Housing Federation’s annual conference in Birmingham last month, the minister talked about creating a closer relationship between the government and housing associations.

“Some of you have said to me that you would welcome the flexibility to bid for a wider mix of affordable housing,” he said.

“We’re very happy to look at that, we remain committed to getting people onto the housing ladder but we also want to maximise the number of affordable homes that our programme delivers and I look forward to discussing that.”

Mr Barwell then went on to discuss the fight to provide housing that works for everyone. “With over 1,500 housing associations in the sector that could include more mergers and partnerships to drive efficiency, this could include working together to enable the ONS to return housing associations to the private sector where they belong,” he said.

In regards to supported housing, he said: “We’re exempting supported housing from the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates until 2019/20, and then bringing in a new funding model that continues to fund the sector at current levels, with core housing costs funded through housing benefit and universal credit at the LHA level, topped up by local councils who will received a ring fenced grant to ensure that every penny of that money is spent in the supported housing sector.”


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