Housing associations can help those failed by the market

Housing Week 2016 is bringing together housing associations up and down the country to highlight how we can lead through change to tackle our housing crisis.

The current national housing strategy just isn’t working – for 30 years or more we have failed as a country to build the number of new homes we really need. And now, with more public and political will than ever before to get homes built, we are still failing.

Enough is enough. The private sector will never build more than the number of homes that deliver maximum shareholder value. And burdensome rules and restriction over Government-backed building won’t allow social house builders to plug the gap.

So let’s have a fresh start. A housing strategy that is concerned with delivering homes people want and need, not tick-boxing – a war chest for housing associations to build for all those for whom the market cannot.

£7bn has been set aside to invest in new homes, but the rules around its use mean it is not being spent. A more flexible grant programme would have led to housing associations bidding to build 60% more homes as part of the Affordable Homes Programme. Working on a contractual basis would allow housing associations to deliver at scale.

The Government wants to build one million homes over the course of this parliament, and that could easily be delivered if we just did things a bit differently. Now is the time for us to deliver real change and build the homes we need.

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