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Comments and opinions29 June 2023

Clarion Housing Group responds to Homes England announcement on regeneration funding

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group 

On Tuesday [27 June], Homes England announced that grant funding provided through the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 can now be used to fund replacement homes, alongside new affordable homes, as part of wider estate regeneration plans. This means that the housing and regeneration agency can better support its partners to replace housing that is outdated and no longer fit-for-purpose, with a larger number of high-quality, energy efficient new affordable homes.

Responding to the announcement, Clare Miller, Clarion Housing Group Chief Executive, said:

“There is no denying that the past week has been another difficult week for all of us who work in housing, as soaring interest rates look set to cause misery and real hardship for millions of people across the country. So the announcement from Homes England that they are “turbo charging” funding for estate regeneration is very much welcome news for all of us in social housing.

As the Chief Executive of Clarion, I’ve been calling on the Government to make changes here for years, and following the very difficult issues we had on the Eastfields estate, I made the case that ‘support from national government is also part of the solution for successful regeneration.’ At the time we experienced our well-documented challenges, there was no financial support on offer in cases where the time is right to knock down old homes and build new ones to take their place.

Whilst these changes might seem a bit academic to some, they could be life-changing for many of our residents and places where we operate.

When we talk about the housing crisis, we often do so through the prism of numbers. It is an undisputable fact that we don’t have enough homes in this country, but so many of the homes we do have simply no longer meet modern standards, and there has rightly been a major focus on this in recent months. That’s why this week’s announcement matters – because this new policy means we will be supported ‘to replace housing that is outdated and no longer fit-for-purpose, with a larger number of high-quality, energy efficient new affordable homes.'

At Clarion, we spend around £1 million a day repairing and investing in our existing stock. Yet despite that investment, from us and other social landlords, there are many thousands of homes across the country that are not up to the quality our residents deserve.

Clarion has partnered with the Social Market Foundation to make the case for funding social housing regeneration and I’m looking forward to the report launch in a few weeks. One of the areas the report highlights is the regional disparity in the quality of our social housing. 5% of socially rented homes in the East of England do not meet Government’s definition of a decent home and in the South West of England it is a staggering 17%.

But the fact is that one non-decent home is too many, and that’s why this announcement matters.

So well done to Homes England for moving the dial in the right direction. I know that Clarion, and all social landlords, are ready to play our part.”