The Government’s £2bn boost for building affordable homes has been welcomed by local councils, landlords and housing groups.
In her speech at the Conservative Party conference, the Prime Minister announced the extra cash for the Tories’ affordable housing programme, meaning £9.1bn will now be spent on building new homes before 2021.
Theresa May highlighted how just 38% of those aged 25-34 own their own home, compared to 59% just over a decade ago.
In a vow to “make the British dream a reality by reigniting home ownership”, the Prime Minister said the Government would encourage councils and housing associations to bid for the new money.
Mrs May said she would oversee “a new generation of council houses to help fix our broken housing market” and put developers on notice to “do your duty” and begin boosting the UK’s housing stock.
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Image: Theresa May has vowed to oversee ‘a new generation of council houses’
The Conservatives suggested the £2bn extra spend could see around 25,000 more social housing properties built, compared to under 7,000 delivered in 2015-16.
It comes on top of the Chancellor’s announcement of an extra £10bn investment in the “Help to Buy” scheme, announced earlier this week, planned to help a further 130,000 families.
Responding to the Prime Minister’s commitment, Local Government Association chairman Lord Porter expressed hopes of a “genuine renaissance in council housebuilding” and “an important shift in the Government’s housing vision”.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, said: “The majority of landlords would agree that more social housing should be built, and it’s about time that the Prime Minister set aside a significant pot of money to do so.”
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The Chartered Institute for Housing hailed a “recognition” of the need for more social housing as “a vital step forward”.
But Labour insisted the Prime Minister’s speech offered “warm words but nowhere near enough action” on housing.
The Government was also attacked by free-market campaigners, with Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute think tank, instead calling for an overhaul of planning laws.
“Social housing isn’t what people want to live in. Almost everyone would like to own their own home,” he said.
“We can do that, but only if we’re prepared to change the rules of the game so that new developments benefit existing residents, and so that constraints on densification are eliminated.”