Delivery Of Affordable Housing – PF2 May Be The Answer

The UK is currently experiencing huge population growth: the birth rate is up, there is net migration from overseas, and the population is growing older, as people live longer. The growing population is felt particularly keenly in London and the South- East, which accounts for over 50% of the UK's population growth, with London absorbing about half of that number. With the population growth far outstripping the pace at which new homes are being built, the UK is facing a staggering affordable housing shortage that is only going to intensify.

It is clear that as the economy and population continue to grow, a combination of solutions are required to significantly increase the quantity of housing that is currently being built; in particular housing that is affordable and suitable for the elderly and those with social needs. Some of these solutions are practical and include: accessing more available land, whether publicly or privately owned, encouraging the development of brownfield sites, embracing higher density building in our cities and investing in technology and alternative methods of construction that will deliver faster and cheaper homes. Other solutions involve different financial models and the need to reintroduce PFI or alternative public private partnerships.

Finance is a factor

Ultimately, the demand for housing can only be met with both government funding and private investment. The Treasury has committed GBP 3.3 billion for 165,000 new homes across England over the next three years, and another GBP 3.7 billion through the 'Help to Buy' scheme. The Greater London Authority (GLA) announced there would be GBP 1.25 billion to support the delivery of 42,000 affordable homes between 2015-18, and proposed the creation of a London Housing Bank, with GBP 200 million earmarked for a project to speed up building on large sites.

A limiting factor in local development is finance available to local authorities. With increasing devolution to Scotland, there is growing support for London and other cities to have greater financial autonomy - including local control of Stamp Duty Land Tax, a degree of tax devolution, and local tax assignment - as greater fiscal independence would allow Local Authorities and the cities more flexibility in their approach to creating housing. Local Authorities and NHS Trusts are acutely aware of the need for providing suitable supported housing for the elderly and those with social needs in their area and, using the...

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