Austen Reid, Clarion Housing Group’s Executive Director for Development gives Clarion’s position on today’s housebuilding announcement

Housebuilding AnnouncementAs the country’ largest housing association we strongly support the Government’s announcement of an additional £2 billion to increase the supply of affordable housing and so significantly improve the lives of the one and half million people currently on housing waiting lists. We also welcome the assurances on rent settlements that the Prime Minister has promised.

For years we have worked our balance sheets and driven efficiencies to continue to develop affordable housing, often through cross subsidy and competing against the commercial housebuilders for land. We have also had to operate in an uncertain environment following the 2016 rent cuts. However, we have always maintained that to deliver the social and affordable housing the country truly needs requires Government intervention – so this increased focus is positive.

The freeing up of public land is welcome but we strongly urge Government to commit to a long term strategy – 10 years for this through which land is ring-fenced for the provision of affordable rented housing. Planning also continues to be a major obstacle in the smooth delivery of new homes – it takes too long and is uncertain. We ask that the Government legislate that planning authorities have to determine within a defined period and that determination arrangements are put in place for those that fail to do so.

We will continue to work closely with local authorities on the successful delivery of new affordable homes and to support them to bid for this new funding. To ensure delivery though it is integral that Local Plans recognise and prioritise affordable housing.

Clarion is ready, willing and able to play its part to ensure a good quality, affordable home for all.