Policy brief: Affordable Homes Programme

By: Pete Jefferys  Published: June 2015


A briefing note underlying the importance of the Affordable Homes Programme, and why should be protected and boosted in the upcoming Budget and Spending Review.

Summary

The amount the government invests in new affordable homes has declined in recent years as part of a longer term switch in spending from bricks to benefits. The Coalition government committed to continue current levels of capital investment in affordable housing through the 'Affordable Homes Programme' over the period 2015 – 2020. This promise was reflected in the Conservatives' manifesto, with a commitment to build 275,000 additional affordable homes.

There are major benefits to retaining the Affordable Homes Programme:

  • We are currently only building half as many homes as we need: both market and affordable. On current projections, the Affordable Homes Programme 2015 – 2020 could contribute up to a third of total housing supply over the next five years. Cutting it would make it next to impossible to build the 250,000 homes per year we need to meet demand.
  • As well as contributing to total housing supply, the Affordable Homes Programme is essential to meet the need for sub-market housing. Without this capital expenditure it would not be possible to build the additional low rent, or Shared Ownership homes that are needed to meet demand.
  • The Affordable Homes Programme is one of the main tools government has to influence the level of housing supply. Without it, it would be much harder to change the level of housing supply without controversial planning reform that could reduce supply over the short term.

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