09 April 2004
Social landlords need £8.4bn to be pumped into affordable housing during the next three years so they can build 140,000 new homes by 2008, the chancellor was told this week.
In a joint submission to the Treasury, organisations representing local authorities and housing associations also called for a national strategy to tackle housing market failure and more help to meet the decent homes standard in rented and private housing.
The chancellor has already indicated that this summer's Spending Review will be tougher than the last. But social housing groups are hoping that the Barker review, which said the sector needs 17,000 more homes per year, will give Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott extra ammunition in his negotiations with the Treasury.
The submission was made on April 6 by the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Local Government Association and the National Housing Federation. In a letter to Prescott, they stressed the need for government investment to secure balanced housing markets.
In addition to new affordable housing, they called for regional equity. Only half the areas deemed at risk through low demand and housing market failure are covered by one of nine market renewal pathfinders set up just over a year ago. They want the pathfinder approach to be extended to the rest of England, with regional housing boards able to bid for money from a fund set up by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
'Housing is the bedrock of healthy communities,' said Richard Kemp, vice chair of the LGA's housing executive. 'Local government is ready and willing to work with its partners to build on the Sustainable Communities plan and create healthy housing markets and thriving neighbourhoods nationwide.'