Housing

Councils are receiving a multi-billion pound social housing funding boost

According to the government, 23,000 new affordable homes will be delivered through an investment deal worth £1.67 billion

James Brokenshire Housing Secretary

Social housing in England will be receiving a multi-billion pound boost, it was revealed today.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire announced that 23,000 new affordable homes will be delivered through an investment deal worth £1.67 billion.

The deal will include at least 12,500 social rent homes in high cost areas in a move to support families struggling to pay their rent as part of the government’s £9 billion investment in affordable homes.

The announcement comes amid figures indicating that the number of affordable homes started by the government fell last year, with 1,500 less starts made, a four per cent dip from the previous year.

The Communities Secretary also announced £1 billion in extra funding, which local authorities are able to bid for a share of to go towards much-needed homes, split equally between London and the rest of England.

The extra financial help was requested by local authorities and will be allocated to areas with the least affordable housing.

The new measures are part of the government’s pledge to build 300,000 homes every year by the mid-2020s but campaigners have identified the need to build the right kind of homes to meet demand.

Brokenshire said the announcement is “a further milestone”  which will help “ease the burden of rent on hard working families and delivering stronger communities.”

With some of the nation’s hardest-pressed people forced to pay the most in borrowing costs, including repayment terms for fridges, freezers, furniture, utilities and mobile phone contracts. In short, it costs more to be poor.

The Rental Exchange initiative developed by Big Issue Invest – The Big Issue Group’s social investment arm – aims to level the playing field. In partnership with Experian, the initiative has been tested in the social housing sector, where tenants have rental payment history incorporated into their credit file, with no extra cost to either the housing provider or tenant.

A huge majority of tenants would see credit scores rise as a result of being part of the scheme. It has also been opened up to private landlords and letting agencies to make sure private renters are given the chance to build the credit history they deserve for making payments on time.

Lord John Bird wants to make sure the Rental Exchange’s benefits extend to renters right across the country by making fair access to cheaper credit the norm. The Big Issue’s founder – now a crossbench peer – has launched the Creditworthiness Assessment Bill.

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