The House Builders Association (HBA) has expressed doubts that the government’s extra funding for affordable housing will solve the housing crisis.
The HBA is the division of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) that constructs houses and while the funding is welcome, the Association believes there are many more problems than just access to funding.
In her address on Wednesday, the Prime Minister confirmed that an extra £2 billion will be spent on affordable housing, taking the total up to £9.1 billion, that is aimed at building “a new generation of council houses to help fix our broken housing market.”
However, the HBA doesn’t see this having a “significant” impact on the housing crisis that the UK is suffering from, where demand for homes is way higher than the number that can be supplied.
Theresa May encouraged housing associations and local councils to bid for this funding, but the HBA think that the proposals announced earlier this week don’t go far enough in helping local authorities to tackle the affordable housing issue that exists in many areas throughout the country.
One of the measures that Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor for the HBA, recommended is the removal of the borrowing cap imposed on the local planning authorities.
This, he said, will help to stimulate the construction of homes at the level it is required.
He said: “More money for new council homes is good, but the government is only scratching the surface of the problem. Removing the borrowing cap on local authorities would certainly enable them to invest more in their local communities, but only radical planning reform will allow us to tackle the current housing crisis.
“The current planning process remains a considerable barrier to many SME house builders and developers, and we can only assume councils will fall foul of the same barriers.
“Overhauling the planning system is vital to building more homes and ultimately solving the housing crisis.”
The Association has been vocal in its insistence that the government must do more to increase the level of housing construction, with particular criticism coming earlier this week in light of the extension of the Help to Buy Equity Loan. The HBA don’t believe this should be a priority in light of the housing shortage.