Autumn Statement must deliver government housing promises, says CIH

10 Oct 16

Ministers must use the Autumn Statement to turn party conference pledges on housing into a reality, the Chartered Institute of Housing has said today.

The professional body for the sector made the comments as the chancellor Philip Hammond prepares to make his first major spending announcements in the Autumn Statement on 23 November.  

At the Conservative Party conference last week, the chancellor and local government secretary Sajid Javid unveiled a £3bn housebuilding fund, and outlined plans to directly commission the construction of homes on publicly owned land. The aim is to build 25,000 new homes before 2020.   

The CIH welcomed the announcements and recommended a range of further initiatives in its submission to ministers.

It called on the government to focus on substantially increasing the number of affordable rented homes in the UK. It also recommended increasing funding for regeneration, improving standards in the private rented sector, and renewing the fight against homelessness.

Gavin Smart, deputy chief executive of CIH, said: “We welcome the level of focus on housing by the government recently; in particular the acknowledgement that enhancing affordability will be central to solving our housing crisis.

“We believe that the Autumn Statement is the opportunity to turn this commitment into action and build a substantial amount of new properties at affordable rents. This is the only way we can really begin to tackle our housing crisis and make sure people of all incomes have access to a home they can afford.”

Among its other recommendations, CIH urged the government to follow through on pledges to introduce greater flexibility for affordable homes funding.

It also advised the government to allow councils to borrow more for housebuilding through “reshaping and extending” the housing revenue account borrowing provisions. Currently, councils are limited in how much they can borrow under a cap introduced when councils were made self-financing for housing debt in 2012.

The CIH also said local authorities should be exempt for the remaining stages of the scheme to cut social housing rents in exchange for extra investment in rented homes.

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