Theresa May’s announcement on new money for social housing – and that she will take personal charge of re-igniting home ownership again in Britain - will be welcomed.
But the PM has left a number of questions still unanswered. There was no time frame for when councils and housing associations can bid for the extra £2bn. So, developers, authorities and registered providers will be looking for greater certainty and more detail on how her promise to ‘fix the broken housing market’ will play out.
The announcement also didn’t seem to address the private rented sector which looks as though it will be left alone - the only “concession” being in relation to rents below market levels
The drive to build more housing builds on many local initiatives already underway nationwide, with councils setting up housing companies and being more proactive in regeneration projects. Every area is seeking to grow and prosper - and housing is an important part of that agenda.
Housing cannot and should not be seen in isolation. Significant growth in a place will require improved and connected infrastructure (including ICT and broadband connectivity); a need to secure local employers offering the right jobs; and an increase in housing numbers will come with a significant increase in demand for services that are already stretched from children’s services; social care; education; health; and other demands on utilities and other requirements such as leisure.