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Housing Association latest news and information.

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Chance to solve rural housing crisis ‘severely limited’ by changes to planning rules

Rural landowners have warned that the lack of flexibility in new planning rules which prevent a mix of affordable and market homes from being built on special sites in the countryside will severely limit the chances of solving the rural housing crisis. 

The Government has published a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which claims to help build more homes, more quickly in places where people want to live. But according to the CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, changes made to the criteria for Entry Level Exception Sites will now encourage less land being made available for much needed homes in the countryside.

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Increase in house building delivers huge boost to UK economy

Industry now generating £38bn a year and supporting 700k jobs.

The 74% increase in house building activity in the past four years has provided a huge boost to the UK economy. Research in a new report by planning and development consultancy Lichfields shows that the house building industry in England and Wales is now worth £38bn a year and supports nearly 700,000 jobs. House building activity contributes economically in different ways including providing jobs, tax revenues and contributing funding for local infrastructure and communities. And with Government targeting further increases in supply, the knock-on benefits are set to increase still further.

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Over half of homeless families in England are in work, shocking new figures show

55% of homeless families trapped in temporary accommodation are actually working, according to new research released by Shelter’s social housing commission.

Based on freedom of information requests, the exclusive analysis shows that more than 33,000 families are holding down a job, despite having nowhere stable to live. This has increased by 73% since 2013, when it was 19,000 families.

This trend in ‘working homelessness’ is being driven by a combination of expensive private rents, the ongoing freeze on housing benefit, and a chronic lack of social homes.

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New funding for innovative projects to build stronger communities

A new £7 million fund to support trailblazing approaches to building more integrated communities in England was launched this week by Secretary of State for Communities Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.

The Integrated Communities Innovation Fund will help drive forward the proposals to tackle the key causes of poor integration set out in the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy green paper launched in March 2018.

The Secretary of State launched the fund while giving evidence to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee at Parliament at a session outlining his priorities as the Secretary of State for Communities.

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ANOTHER new Housing Minister – industry response

Kit Malthouse has been named as the eighth Housing Minister since 2010 after Dominic Rabb was announced as the new Brexit secretary yesterday.

Commenting on the announcement that Kit Malthouse MP is the new Housing Minister, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said “Another week, another Housing Minister. The industry has long bemoaned the turnstile approach to this crucial role but the pace of change is quickening.  We’re now going through two Housing Ministers a year. Dominic Raab, Kit Malthouse’s predecessor, was only in post for a mere six months and before that, Alok Sharma was in the position for just seven months. The Government claims that housing is a priority yet this constant chopping and changing in terms of the person leading the charge would suggest otherwise.”

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London has the biggest housing shortfall in the country

The shortfall is over seven times higher than many other regions in England and is over double the next highest region, the South East, which has a shortfall of 85,284.

The figures are from a report London Home Truths 2017/18 by the National Housing Federation, which analyses key housing data across England annually.

The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, social landlords to over 2.7 million homes, says most of this housing gap could be met by unlocking public land. The City Hall’s register of public land (1) shows there are 36,287 sites of public land that could be built on. According to the Mayor of London’s office, if all of these were unlocked, a minimum of 130,000 homes could be built.

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Government need to invest significantly in tackling housing crisis

Government needs to invest significantly more in genuinely affordable homes and be far bolder in its support for councils if it is to meet the ambition to deliver 300,000 new homes a year, according to a major study by the TCPA, funded by the Nationwide Foundation. 

The report has revealed appetite for innovation from councils right across the country, but also concerns from many councils about their ability to deliver genuinely affordable homes available at social-rent levels.

The research, involving a survey of 76 councils, found that social rent is the most in-demand housing tenure among over half of English councils, although in 2016/17 just 5,380 new social rented homes were built in England.2 Further to this, 80% of councils said that increasing grant levels would encourage councils to build more affordable homes, and 2/3 of councils said that lifting the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap would allow them to build more homes (which the government has done in the budget, although this is limited to areas with ‘high affordability pressures’).

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