'Budget commitment good but crucial we build the right homes in the right places'
In response to the budget, CIH's deputy chief executive Gavin Smart said the government's renewed commitment to solve the housing crisis is positive but it's crucial the homes built are homes that people can afford.
Gavin Smart, deputy chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “The renewed commitment to tackle the nation’s housing crisis in today’s budget represents significant progress and we particularly welcome the government’s ambitious new target to deliver 300,000 new homes a year.
"Of course the important thing is that we are building the right homes in the right places and that people can afford them. We have to make sure that any new funding supports the building of new homes that meet the varied needs of individuals and families across the UK.
"For many people social rents, which are much cheaper than private rents, remain the only truly affordable option and more must be done to support this crucial form of housing.”
On Housing Revenue Account borrowing caps being lifted for councils in high-demand areas he said:
“We have long argued that if we are going to build the homes we need councils will have to play a major part and we welcome measures to support this. The government has made a series of announcements in recent months which lay the foundation for housing associations to commit to developing many more new homes and we must do the same for councils. Relaxing borrowing caps for councils in high demand areas is very positive – we hope to see the government build on this move so that we see a return to the levels of council house building we need.”
On universal credit announcements he said:
“We know that universal credit is causing significant hardship and that the lengthy waiting time for the first payment is a significant problem. Today’s measures to help people suffering as a result of the delays are welcome. We hope to see further progress on some of the other issues affecting universal credit claimants, including administrative delays and lack of information. CIH wrote to the Department for Work and Pensions to express our concerns back in July and in particular we are urging the government to slow the roll-out down so that it can make sure it gets this vital reform right.”
On support for private renters he said:
“Our research has shown that local housing allowance is completely out of step with rents in many areas of the country – especially for younger people. We welcome the extra funding to help support people in areas worst affected by that gap. However we still think the government should go further and unfreeze local housing allowance rates. The ending of a private tenancy is the leading cause of homelessness in England and we look forward to contributing to the consultation on longer-term tenancies which could give much-needed stability to renters.”