Today’s financial statement was not designed to be as comprehensive as previous spring or autumn budgets. Its aim was to introduce an emergency package of measures in response to the coronavirus crisis. However, there were some important announcements relevant to housing associations, including:
We have published our public response to today’s announcements.
On Monday, the government announced that the current SOAHP deadline is extended until March 2023.
We have been making the case strongly for flexibility over timing for the existing schemes. We are delighted that this has been heard, and that the government has agreed to allow more time for schemes to complete.
We’ll continue to make the case for flexibility in the short term, including funding to be able to change tenures where this will help us to keep developing, and for an ambitious new long-term vision for social housebuilding, as part of our Homes at the Heart campaign.
Last week, the government announced that the new AHP will total £12.2bn of grant funding from 2021/22 across England. We have summarised the details of this announcement, which includes information about a new 1,500 pilot of First Homes.
Following an immediate discussion with the Housing Minister, we have had confirmation that the funding will be available over five years, not eight years as previously announced.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been engaging extensively with the government about the AHP, and are pleased that this has resulted in immediate clarity on vital future funding for the sector.
The government has announced its intention to introduce a Right to Shared Ownership (RtSO), as a condition of grant, under the new AHP. It would apply to new homes with a minimum first tranche of 10%.
We know there are mixed views across our membership on how significant the RtSO could be, and we are concerned that the long-term impact may only become clear further down the line. In particular, we think the loss of social housing and a potential impact on security values are significant issues that need to be carefully considered.
We will continue to engage constructively with the government on this to establish how the policy could work in a way that will minimise the potential impact on supply and development if it is introduced. However, we think it is right that we continue to point out the risks of introducing the policy at this stage, which could make it harder for us to build new homes at a time when this is more crucial than ever.
We will continue to engage with government officials as the above announcements develop. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.