Autumn Statement 2023

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.

Summary of our asks

The government should:

  • Deliver on its net zero commitments by releasing the full remaining Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund beyond 2025. This will provide longer-term funding certainty, grow the economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs across the country.
  • Provide certainty and stability for housing associations, residents and lenders, through a new 10-year, index-linked rent settlement.
  • Commit to new burdens funding for new requirements introduced through the review of the Decent Homes Standard. This will enable housing associations to continue to provide the high quality, affordable homes the country needs.
  • Support low-income residents with their energy bills by reopening the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding to ensure all households who missed out receive their payment and introducing an energy social tariff to protect low-income residents in the longer-term.
  • Deliver more social homes by allocating funding for regeneration programmes over a longer period, and ensure Local Planning Authorities have the necessary resources to enable timely granting of planning permission.
  • Make sure everyone can feel safe in their home by implementing the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign call for equal access to government building safety funding for housing associations, and ensuring contractors, as well as developers, remediate defective buildings that they built for housing associations.
  • Help people into better homes that meet their needs, alleviate homelessness and deliver savings to the NHS and social care budgets through the provision of a fair and effective support and welfare system, long-term funding for supported housing and funding for homelessness prevention.

22 November 2023

Response to the Autumn Statement 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.