17 February 2011
Forty-six councils will share funding of £1.6bn to bring 150,000 of their houses and flats up to the Decent Homes standard.
Announcing the outcome of theDecent Homes bidding process today, housing minister Grant Shapps said the funding should halve the Decent Homes backlog in the local authority sector by 2015.
Shapps said: ‘To reflect our commitment to fairness and protecting the most vulnerable people in our society, we set aside over £2bn at the Spending Review to bring as many social homes as we can up to scratch – this was despite the tough decisions we took to tackle the record deficit.
‘Too many families live in non-decent accommodation, so I am pleased that so many of them will see a difference due to this finding.’ [funding?]
Of the £1.4bn allocation, £821m is being given to London local authorities to reflect the capital’s relatively high levels of substandard housing. It also includes, for the first time, funds for councils that manage their own housing.
The remainder of the £2.1bn announced in the Spending Review will meet existing commitments to 28 Large Scale Voluntary Transfer housing associations.
Homes and Communities Agency chief executive Pat Ritchie said: ‘This is good news for tenants in thousands of homes, as we have successfully opened up funding to new local authorities and balanced that with a significant allocation to authorities already to programmes through arm’s-length management organisations.’
She added that the HCA’s new enabling role would help councils to carry out their Decent Homes work as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
Beginning in April, the scheme guarantees that revenue generated in council tax from new housebuilding will be matched by Whitehall. Councils stand to gain an average of £9,000 for each Band D home built in their area. This would increase to £11,000 for an affordable home. An area building 1,000 new homes could stand to gain £10m to spend as it saw fit.
Shapps said: ‘We need to get the country building again… To kickstart a housebuilding revolution, development needs to be backed by local communities rather than opposed by them.’