July 14, 2011 7:05 pm

Subsidised homes to exceed target

A total of 170,000 subsidised homes will be built over the next four years, 20,000 more than the government had set as a target.

Grant Shapps, the housing minister, announced on Thursday the government would spend £1.8bn on helping social housing providers build the homes, which industry insiders previously warned would not be built without higher government spending. Less than half of the total will be built under the government’s new funding model, with 90,000 having already been announced under the last Labour government.

Mr Shapps said: “The affordable homes programme has received a ringing endorsement from the sector and confounded the critics, who said the programme would not deliver in the current climate.”

Despite the government having exceeded its target, however, housing insiders warned the new homes would not satisfy current demand, with the current waiting list for social housing standing at 5m.

There are also some areas of the country where experts warn the government has not done enough to spur new homebuilding. On part of the north east coast around Hull, there will be no new affordable houses built at all after the government rejected bids for funding from two of the region’s biggest housing associations.

Providers also warned that some of the homes included in the government numbers would have been built anyway even without government funding. One housing association boss said: “Grant Shapps seems to have counted as social housing anything that moves.”

David Orr, NHF chief executive, said on Thursday: “The fact that housing associations are going to build the vast majority of the nation’s affordable homes over the next four years – despite the housebuilding budget having been cut by 63 per cent – is a testament to their innovation and ability to manage risk in difficult situations.”

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