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Lack of housing sector commitments “disappointing”

By: Kelly Bellerson

With an ongoing housing crisis, the Spring Budget fell quiet on the housing front, which many have been quick to point out.

A month on from the Spring Budget and industry figures have spoken out over the lack of commitment to decarbonising homes and prioritising the welfare of tenants.

Decarbonisation – Voices

The Chancellor’s failure to allocate further funding towards decarbonising homes has disappointed sector figures.

“We are disappointed that the chancellor appears to be taking his foot off the pedal in his Spring Statement. By failing to bring forward planned spending on energy-efficiency measures, he has missed a golden opportunity to both reduce energy bills and decarbonise the housing sector.” Head of Policy and Campaigns at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Ross Matthewman.

“The £750m of regeneration funding is welcome, but more investment could be targeted at improving the quality and energy efficiency of the country’s homes, which would contribute to both energy security and achieving our net zero goals, as well as helping to level up left-behind communities.” Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, Kate Henderson.

Local Housing Allowance – Voices

It was hoped that Local Housing Allowance would be raised, which many in the industry had called for, but Jeremy Hunt by-passed the point altogether.

“Housing was notable by its absence. We are disappointed that the chancellor did not use this opportunity to restore Local Housing Allowance to the 30th percentile, as we and others had called for.” Chief executive of the Chartered Institute for Housing, Gavin Smart.

“We had hoped to see the chancellor announce a rise in the Local Housing Allowance, which would go a long way to making housing more affordable for low-income Londoners. We also need much more support for building the affordable homes that our communities desperately need.” Chair of London Councils, Georgia Gould.

Housing Crisis – Voices

Further disappointment was expressed by the lack of commitment to the housing sector, especially as the UK continues to grapple with a housing-crisis.

“This is a Budget about long-term sustainable growth which can only be achieved with a long-term focus on resolving the housing crisis. We are disappointed this is not directly addressed in the Budget.” Chair of PlaceShapers, Matthew Walker.

“On wider housing challenges, there was precious little in the chancellor’s statement. It is now vital that the government works with us to help make progress on giving more people access to affordable homes that are safe, warm, and dry.” Chief Executive of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing and Chair of the G15, Geeta Nanda.

Spring Budget Recap

  • Hunt has pledged a discount of 0.4% Public Works Loan Board borrowing rates for new affordable housing construction by local authorities.
  • Trailblazer devolution deals were unveiled for Affordable Housing Programme funds in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, giving them the ability to “set the strategic direction” in their regions.
  • £200m has been allocated to local regeneration projects, £161m for the Greater London Authority and mayoral combined authorities, along with £400m committed to new levelling up partnerships.
  • Additionally, prepayment meter bills will be brought in line with direct debits as the UK narrowly avoids a technical recession.
  • On top of this, Hunt pledged a £30m package to the Office for Veteran’s Affairs with the aim of increasing the availability of veterans’ housing.
  • Finally, sanctions will be applied more vigorously to those claiming Universal Credit in a bid to tackle UK-wide labour shortages.
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