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Government set to miss affordable housing targets - warning

The Government has been urged to revise its plans for affordable housing as MPs warn it is set to fall short of its housebuilding targets.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee today warns that the Government is likely to come up 32,000 short of the aims of its 2016 and 2021 affordable housing building programmes. 

It said the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) admits it does not expect to deliver the intended benefits of the 2021 programme and has already downgraded its forecast, expecting to achieve 157,000 new homes in its 2016-2021 programme of house building against a public target of 180,000. 


The committee claims DLUHC “does not seem to have a grasp on the considerable risks to achieving even this lower number of homes, including construction costs inflation running at 15-30% in and around London. “

The report, which comes as the Government dropped plans for mandatory local housebuilding targets, warns that not enough homes are built for social rent and said more must be done to ensure appropriate homes are built in areas where there is most demand.

Councils have few powers to insist that housing providers build the right type of homes for local people, the report said.

The committee is now calling on DLUHC to publish transparent data on where homes are built by local authority, or information about the type or size of homes in annual reports to the Committee.   

The report also highlights that the failure to set any standards for homes to be net-zero may necessitate “expensive retrofitting in the future.”

Meg Hillier, chair of the committee, said: “The Government knows affordable rented homes offer the best value for money. 

“Many people in high-cost areas simply can’t afford to rent privately or buy their own home and there’s a desperate need for affordable, secure rented homes. But amid all the building targets there isn’t one for affordable or socially rented homes. 

“Local authorities know where and what homes must be built to address the national housing crisis but don’t have the power to act. 

“The human cost of inaction is already affecting thousands of households and now the building programme is hitting the challenges of increased building costs. This does not augur well for ‘generation rent’ or those in desperate need of genuinely affordable homes.”


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