The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that the scheme which helps more families across the UK into affordable homes has been extended by a year.

Following the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent slump in housebuilding, it has been estimated that this has caused a stalling of 53,000 homes being built. To safeguard funding, the government has stepped in to ensure that the homes will still be available to families and so have extended the current Affordable Homes Programme until March 2023.

This relaxes the pressure on housing associations and local councils as building work that should have already begun but was stalled due to the coronavirus now has a year to catch up while still getting the benefit of government support.

It was confirmed last week that the £12bn Affordable Homes Programme which will start next year, will provide support for up to 180,000 new homes, including the shared accommodation sector and social renting.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“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.

Building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this government as we prioritise uniting and levelling up the country”.

More than 1.5 million new homes have been delivered since 2010, including more than 460,000 affordable homes.

In further support of UK housebuilding, it was announced last week that there are intentions for;

  • An ambition for the Affordable Homes Programme to fund a 1,500 unit pilot of ‘First Homes’: homes that will prioritised for local first time buyers and key workers at a 30% discount. The discount will be locked-in to the property in perpetuity, keeping them affordable for generations of families to own.
  • Allocating £360 million of funding from the £400 million 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 to access finance for new housing developments by boosting the Home Building Fund with an additional £450 million of investment. This is expected to support delivery of around 7,200 new homes.
  • Reforming the planning system to kick start the construction industry, speed up rebuilding and make easier to build better homes where people want to live. This includes making it easier to repurpose more commercial premises without requiring a planning application, builders no longer needing a planning application to demolish and rebuild unused buildings if they are rebuilt as homes, and property owners being able to build additional space above their properties through a fast track approval process.
  • 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 home building and improving the environment.