Government Extends £9bn Affordable Housing Programme

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The UK government has confirmed it is extending the current £9 billion affordable homes programme by a further 12 months to allow registered providers the extra time required to deliver housing schemes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Property Reporter, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick explained that the extension will ensure that the much-needed homes are not lost altogether after the construction of 53,000 affordable homes stalled during the lockdown.

Previous to the extension, under the £9bn 2016-21 Affordable Homes Programme, housing associations and other registered providers (RPs) were required to have begun construction on a scheme by March 2022 to qualify for funding.

With the extension in place, RPs now have an extra year to start construction without the risk of losing funding.

The announcement of the extension comes just a week after the government confirmed the start of a new £12bn affordable homes programme to cover the next five years. The government said that part of this money will be used to fund a 1,500-home pilot of its First Homes scheme, under which homes will be made available to buyers at a 30 per cent discount.

Mr Jenrick said building the homes the country needs was central to the mission of this government.

“Today 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,” he said.

Housing association bosses last week called on the government to focus on social housing at the heart of its economic recovery plan after publishing evidence of the health effects suffered by people inadequately housed during the lockdown.

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