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Government to miss affordable housing target

publication date: Jul 8, 2009
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A new report says that according to the Government’s own figures, it will miss its target to build 70,000 homes a year by 2010/11. The housing target now falls short of the plans outlined two years ago. The government will fail to meet the target by at least 13,550 a year. Additionally, only 13,500 of the 56,450 homes it aims to deliver in 2010/11 will be council homes.

The National Housing Federation has warned that around 6.5m people – or one in ten of the population – will be on social housing waiting lists in England by 2020 unless urgent action is taken, according to new figures. The effect of the recession and repossessions has intensified the need for social housing.

Richard St John Williams, housing and regeneration partner at law firm, Cobbetts LLP commented: “The news that the government will miss its affordable homes target comes as no surprise, especially to people ‘on the ground’ looking to deliver the government’s housing targets, with many projects unable to make it past the starting block due to the current economic circumstances.

“However, this appears to be the first occasion that the government itself – with its own figures – has openly conceded that the target is unachievable.

“The Government has attempted to engage the private sector, although the private sector is facing two significant challenges – the first is the lack of availability of private finance; the second, is the reliance on housing for sale to make business plans stack up. That being said, councils, housing associations, ALMOs, community land trusts and developers, with support from the Homes and Communities Agency are developing some exciting models to help unblock some of the current barriers.

“As such, the government appears to have refocused its attention towards councils delivering its housing targets by announcing sweeping changes to the council funding regime. However, before these changes can be introduced, consultation will need to be undertaken and legislation introduced. This takes time.”