The housing secretary has confirmed the government has extended a scheme to help get more families across England into affordable homes by a year.
Robert Jenrick says the government is stepping in to “safeguard” funding following unavoidable delays in the construction industry due to coronavirus, and the Affordable Homes Programme will now run until March 2023.
Homes to be built under the government’s £9bn scheme originally needed work to have begun by March 2022.
However, it is estimated that the building of 53,000 new affordable homes have stalled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement follows confirmation last week that the new £12bn Affordable Homes Programme – which will start next year – will support up to 180,000 new affordable homes, including for shared ownership and social rent.
The programme will lead to a further £38bn in public and private investment in affordable housing.
Commenting on the extension of the Affordable Homes Programme, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “I am announcing that we are giving more flexibility to housing associations and councils to help them deliver affordable homes.
“We’ve listened closely to the sector and agreed that there will now have a longer deadline for using government funding to get these homes built.
“Building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this government as we prioritise uniting and levelling up the country.”
Building up support
The government says that more than 1.5m new homes have been delivered since 2010, including more than 460,000 affordable homes.
Last week, the government announced a package of measures to support homebuilding across England, including:
- An ambition for the Affordable Homes Programme to fund a 1,500 unit pilot of ‘First Homes’ – homes that will be prioritised for local first-time buyers and key workers at a 30% discount
- Allocating £360m of funding from the £400m Brownfield Land Fund to the West Midland, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region, North of Tyne, and Tees Valley to support around 24,000 homes
- Helping smaller developers access finance for new housing developments by boosting the Home Building Fund with an additional £450m investment
- Reforming the planning system to kickstart the construction industry, speed up rebuilding, and make it easier to build better homes where people want to live
- A new, ambitious cross-government strategy, to be published ahead of the Spending Review, looking at how public sector land can be managed and released so it can be put to better use – this would include measures for homebuilding and improving the environment