Government ‘should enforce 50% affordable homes target’

13 Nov 17

The government must scrap council borrowing caps to enable house building and enforce a 50% affordable homes target on public land developments.

This is the view presented in a report from the IPPR think-tank, which highlights that currently 92% of councils in England are failing to meet affordable housing needs.

The study found that there is a lack of affordable housing being delivered in the vast majority of area across England but local authorities also fail to build enough homes to meet the need for overall housing need.

More than two thirds (67%) of local authorities failed to meet housing demand in 2015/16, according to the government’s new projections.

Darren Baxter, researcher at IPPR, said: “This analysis shows that not only are local authorities failing to build enough affordable homes, those which are being built are often out of reach of those who they are intended to support.”

The think-tank also called for the government to devolve spending and decision making powers to the new combined authority areas so they can drive local housing building.

Measures proposed in Friday’s report included:

  • Devolving powers to councils for greater flexibility in the pooling and coordination of housing funding streams
  • The retention of stamp duty receipts on all new-build properties to top-up housing investment funding
  • Council tax flexibility on empty sites and empty homes to accelerate the process of bringing unused homes back into use and putting unused planning permissions into action.

It also suggested devolving a proportion of the budget for the Help to Buy equity loan programme to combined authorities and re-allocating funding for the Starter Homes programme.

Baxter added: “The newly elected mayors should use their powers to take on the housing crisis and get their local councils building, including working to bring land to market for social and affordable rent.”

The think-tank also argued the government should enforce a 35% affordable housing threshold on all private developments across the country while ensuring a 50% threshold on all developments on public land.

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