The Government’s £9bn affordable housing scheme has been extended by a year in a bid to save 53,000 new homes that have stalled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, has confirmed that the deadline for councils and housing associations to receive funding has been extended by 12 months to March 2023.
Previously, projects would have needed to have “shovels in the ground” by March next year to continue to benefit from Government funding.
The extension means the scheme will continue to run alongside the latest £12bn funding pot, starting next year, which ministers say will support the construction of up to 180,000 additional affordable homes.
The Government said last night that the programme would be bolstered by a further £38bn of private sector funding.
Announcing the extension last night, Mr Jenrick said: “Today I am announcing that we are giving more flexibility to housing associations and councils to help them deliver affordable homes.
“We’ve listened closely to the sector and agreed that there will now be a longer deadline for using Government funding to get these homes built.
“Building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this Government as we prioritise uniting and levelling up the country.”
It comes a week after the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced plans for a new “first homes” pilot scheme, which will see 1,500 properties built and sold to local first time buyers and key workers at a 30 per cent discount.
The discount will remain when the owners decide to resell, ensuring that there remains a viable supply of affordable housing stock in local areas.
Separately, Boris Johnson last week used a major speech in the West Midlands to set out plans for the “most radical” reforms of the planning system since the end of the Second World War in order to “build a more beautiful Britain.”
The changes will make it easier to get permission to turn commercial buildings, such as cafes or vacant shops, into residential homes without requiring planning permission. It will also be easier to develop brownfield sites.
Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes.