Published On: Thu, Jul 31st, 2014

HCA confirms nearly £900m of allocations for 2015-18 Affordable Homes

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Andy RoseA total of 160 housing providers across England are set to benefit from £886 million of affordable homes funding, according to initial allocations recently published by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).  

A total of 43,821 new affordable homes will be delivered across 2,697 schemes, making a significant initial contribution to the Government’s ambition for 165,000 new affordable homes by March 2018, while supporting overall housing supply and local economic growth.

The initial allocations have been made under the HCA’s 2015-18 Affordable Homes Programme, following a competitive bidding process for £1.7 billion of funding. They are the result of rigorous assessment, based on fit with local priorities, value for money and deliverability. Allocations have been discussed with the relevant local council to align investment with local priorities for their area.

The funding announced today comprises just over half of the total £1.7 billion of funding available. The remaining funding will be made available for providers to bid into the HCA in due course via Continuous Market Engagement (CME), as planned, in order to allow housing providers further opportunities to work up firm schemes for future delivery during the 2015-18 period. This will include specialist, supported or rural housing, which can often require a longer lead time.

HCA Chief Executive Andy Rose said:  “We have set in place a solid delivery programme that will ensure a smooth transition from our current Affordable Homes Programme, and that delivery can start promptly.

“The allocations announced today are closely aligned with locally identified priorities and offer value for money and increased certainty of delivery, with over 75% of the homes we are funding on firm schemes.

“Just over half of the available funding has been allocated. The remaining funding will be allocated on a Continuous Market Engagement basis, giving even more partners time to work up deliverable bids to meet local needs and their future development aspirations.

“This is a strong foundation that we are putting in place today, which puts us on track to make a significant contribution towards government’s aspirations for up to 165,000 new affordable homes by March 2018, while supporting overall housing supply and local economic growth.”

New Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:  “Housebuilding is an essential part of this government’s long-term economic plan. That’s why we have designed an ambitious new scheme to build affordable homes at the fastest rate for 20 years, which will support 165,000 jobs in construction and sustain thousands of small businesses.

“Our programme will use the latest construction technology to deliver high-quality homes, helping to transform the way we build in Britain, and providing homes where future generations will want to live and raise families of their own.”

Responding to the news, Rachel Fisher, Head of Policy at the National Housing Federation, said: “This is very welcome news and we are delighted that so many housing associations are taking advantage of this funding to build the new homes that the nation so desperately needs.

“At the same time, housing associations are social businesses so can only use funding if the terms and conditions are right for them. It is important to remember that many also build new affordable homes outside of the HCA grant funding programme. Housing associations are providing homes at a range of prices including homes for lower, social rent prices, which are genuinely affordable for people on lower incomes. However the Government requires that all homes developed under the HCA programme are to be let at Affordable Rents which can be up to 80% of the market price, which can be unaffordable to some tenants.

“The news that more local councils, including major cities like Manchester and Leeds, have received funding allocations in this round is also really positive. Given the scale of the housing crisis, these cities desperately need this extra boost to tackle the housing crisis.”

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