Will Conservative plans provide more social housing?

The Conservative Party manifesto is not expected until Thursday but, over the weekend, Theresa May has promised a "new generation" of social housing will be built if her party wins the General Election.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, it was reported that the government "will offer councils some money, help them borrow more and change the laws governing compulsory purchase orders to make it cheaper for councils to buy up derelict buildings and pockets of abandoned brownfield land on which to build the homes".

However, as the Financial Times points out, the plans involve no new central government funding - the £1.4 billion committed was announced in last year's Autumn Statement - and there is no commitment as to the number of homes to be built. The former Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, declined to reveal any targets when challenged on this latter point on the BBC's Sunday Politics programme by the presenter, Andrew Neil, saying that it "would depend on negotiations with local authorities".

The focus of the main political parties over the last week on the issue of social housing is welcome as the building of this type of housing is at a 24-year low point. It will also be important for the next government to set out its targets so that progress can be measured. As Carol Matthews, Chief Executive at Riverside, argues in Inside Housing, "an annual target, against which progress would be reported to parliament each year, would help to ensure a sustainable increase in supply".

The General Election campaign still has some way to go and we hope that housing continues to be near the top of the agenda as the political parties set out their stall. Championing house building is important, as is setting targets, so that we can better judge how seriously each party plans to tackle the UK housing crisis and provide more social housing.  

Courtesy of   The Sunday Times .

Courtesy of The Sunday Times.