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Government policy risks ‘catastrophic blow’ to housing

The government’s funding cuts and overhaul of the planning system could deal a ‘catastrophic blow’ to affordable housebuilding, according to the National Housing Federation (NHF)

A letter from NHF chief executive David Orr to housing minister Grant Shapps warned the number of affordable homes built in England this year could fall by 65 per cent to just 20,390.

Blamed for the potential crisis are: the end of the regional housing targets, cuts to this year’s housing budget, an announced funding black hole for already earmarked developments, the crackdown on ‘garden grabbing’ and the scrapping of the minimum density targets.

The Government’s re-branding of gardens from brownfield sites to greenfield alone could jeorpardise 10,000 new homes.

Shapps however said: ‘Houses cannot be built by targets that don’t work with money that doesn’t exist.

‘We have the lowest peacetime rate of house building since 1924 and a system of top-down control that alienates the public and undermines support for new housing.’

Homeless charity Shelter also warned that this year funding for new homes worth £610 million is at risk.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘Cuts now would cause one of our key industries to continue to flounder, bringing house building to a standstill at a time when the need for more homes has never been greater.’

The NHF represents 1,200 not-for-profit housing associations in England.


David Orr’s statement:

The brutal impact of funding cuts combined with the introduction of ill conceived changes to the planning system could lead to a 65% slump in the number of new affordable homes built this year.  

Worse still, unless the Government takes steps to modify some of the policies recently announced we fear that the overall number of affordable homes built in subsequent years could fall to an even lower number.  

Given the scale of housing need across the country, we cannot afford for the building of affordable homes to effectively grind to a halt.  

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have repeatedly said that the public spending cuts will not disproportionately hit the most vulnerable, but if these measures go-head the impact on house-building will be catastrophic.

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