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May's housing association funding promise slammed as too little too late

THERESA MAY’s promise today that housing associations (HA) could receive some funding after 2021 was described as too little too late after years of Tory neglect of social housing.

The Prime Minister said that £2 billion would be offered to some HAs to build tens of thousands of homes up until 2028-29.

This amount was slammed as just a drop in the ocean since the Tories abolished grants for social landlords to build homes for genuinely affordable rents in 2010.

Labour warned Ms May’s promises “fall far short” of what is needed for the sector.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said: “The reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed, so the number of new social rented homes built last year fell to the lowest level since records began.

“If Conservative ministers are serious about fixing the housing crisis, they should back Labour’s plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council house-building programme for more than 30 years.”

Local Government Association chairman Gary Porter said that the funding promise “does not go far enough” and that the government is “wrong” to leave out councils from any plans to boost number of genuinely affordable homes for social rent.

He said: “Homes for affordable and social rent are desperately needed across the country now, not in 2022.”

Speaking to HA representatives at the National Housing Summit in London, Ms May called for an end to the “stigma” of social housing.

She told them that social housing had been “pushed to the edge of political debate” and that there is a “certain stigma” attached to living in such homes.

Housing charity Shelter chief executive Polly Neate welcomed the government’s apparent change of tack on social housing.

She said: “It’s good to see the Prime Minister indicating the government is starting to get serious about correcting this historic failure.

“This must be the start and not the end.

“What we need now is more social homes actually being built as well as a big shift in attitude to start viewing social housing as a right for hard-pressed families across the country.”

The promised funding is separate from the £9 billion for the so-called “Affordable Homes Programme,” which includes places to rent for just under market rates and shared ownership properties, which is running until 2022.

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