19 October 2023
On Wednesday 22 November 2023, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt updated MPs on the country's finances and the government's plans for tax and public spending. Here you'll find details of our asks ahead of the Autumn Statement and our response to what was announced.
We submitted to the Treasury a comprehensive round up of what we thought the Chancellor should include in the Autumn Statement, based on the priorities and ambitions of our membership.
Housing associations share the government’s ambition for better homes and communities for everyone. Housing associations exist to provide good quality, affordable social homes for people who need them and offer vital services to support their communities. The lower rents our members charge save tenants £9bn annually.
Our housing association members are committed to investing in the supply and quality of social housing. In 2022/23 housing associations built more than 39,000 new affordable homes, directly adding £2.15bn to the national economy and supporting nearly 37,000 jobs. Housing associations are also taking action to address the issues of quality that exist in some of the homes in the sector. Following the publication of the independent Better Social Housing Review report, the NHF and our members are now implementing its recommendations through our action plan. Last year, housing associations increased investment in their existing homes by 20%.
Our members are also investing heavily in the decarbonisation of their homes. The UK’s homes are the oldest and leakiest in Europe, contributing to climate change, pushing families into fuel poverty and worsening issues of damp and mould. The sector plans to invest over £70bn in the decarbonisation of their homes up to 2050 and housing association homes are already more energy efficient than any other tenure.
However, with finite financial capacity there’s only so much housing associations can do by themselves. Further investment from the government is needed alongside the sector’s, to ensure that housing association residents can benefit from energy efficient homes that are warmer, more affordable to heat and in much better condition.
We believe that a decent, affordable home should be a right for us all. Having good housing that people can afford close to work, education and local services acts as a springboard for thriving communities and plays a critical role in a strong national and local economy. We want to see a clear long-term plan for housing, backed by government investment, to achieve these outcomes.
The government should:
22 November 2023
The Chancellor’s decision to unfreeze Local Housing Allowance is one we’ve long been calling for, and will mean that people at the sharp end of the housing crisis will be helped to keep up with increasing rents. This action, along with the decision to uplift benefits payments in line with inflation, will give millions of people struggling with living costs some much needed relief. However, we’re concerned that tougher rules and potential benefit reductions for people who are unable to find a job will result in increased hardship.
We also welcome the additional £3bn for the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme which can be accessed to finance works to improve the quality of existing homes as well as for new much needed affordable housing.
It is hugely disappointing that the government has not used this Autumn statement to release the full £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. This will impact on housing associations’ ability to make homes energy efficient at scale and pace, saving residents money and helping to alleviate fuel poverty, creating thousands of jobs and decarbonising our homes. We urge the Government to bring this funding forward soon as possible and before the Spring Budget.
Increased investment in planning capacity is the right thing to do. However, the money should be ringfenced and have greater flexibility so it succeeds in removing barriers to the delivery of thousands of homes stuck in the planning system.
While the Autumn Statement has brought some positive news, we need government to commit to a long-term plan to fix the housing crisis in order to make a real difference to the millions of people in housing need.