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NFB: We need homes now, not promises in four years

The NFB welcomes £2bn of extra funding, but housing associations should not have to wait until 2022 for it to become accessible.

Prime Minister Theresa May will tell the National Housing Federation (NHF) that £2 billion of new cash will be available for housing associations from 2022 to build and manage tens of thousands of properties.

The prime minister will also tell the NHF that social housing is not the tenure for second class citizens and that housing associations have the tools to build homes and take on major developments themselves, rather than acquiring a proportion of properties that commercial developers build.

The Labour Party has said that the promises fall short and that, if the Conservatives are serious about fixing the housing crisis, they should back Labour plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomes the extra funding, but thinks that the country cannot afford to wait until 2022. In addition, the NFB is sceptical that the language used focuses on major developments but not the broken planning process.

Housing associations play a key role in diversifying the housing market, as well as delivering a wide range of sites. However, typically partnering with small and medium sized builders (SMEs), they experience many of the same barriers to building that the non-volume sector faces.

It is therefore frustrating to notice the lack of reference to the inefficient planning and plan-making process, affecting the major developments that the prime minister would like registered providers to deliver.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “NHBC Foundation research identified that 40% of small builders build for housing associations because the supply barriers SMEs face are also encountered by registered social landlords. We are disappointed to see that both the Government and the opposition avoid discussing the elephant in the room: the broken planning process”

Extra funding for £2 billion is extremely welcome, but it will not be accessible until 2022, it will not fix the inefficient planning process and does little to dispel the negative myths around social housing.”

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