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CPA: Social Housing

The Government has increased capital investment in social housing substantially over the last decade and the 2007 Spending Review confirmed that social housing is set to remain a key priority area.

The overall English housing budget will rise by approximately nine per cent p.a. over the years to 2010/11, providing funds for new affordable and social housing, as well as improving existing social housing stock.

The Government announced a commitment to increase the number of new social rented houses by 50 per cent over the next three years, to 45,000 units p.a., with a goal to reach 50,000 homes p.a. in the next spending review period.

Whilst this target to accelerate new social housing provision is a step in the right direction, alone it is unlikely to ensure a significant uplift in housing volumes.

Delivery is critically dependent upon an increase in private developer contributions, planning gains and housing corporation efficiency gains, while policies and mechanisms to deliver the programme have yet to be put in place.

Public sector output continued to rise strongly last year and sector growth if forecast to continue over the next five years, albeit at a somewhat more modest pace.

Similarly, the blip in social housing starts and completions seen in 2007 is expected to be temporary, and a positive trend in housing volumes is expected over the forecast period.

However, volumes are expected to reach only 35,000 social rented homes by 2012 - far lower than the Government’s target.

Public housing RM&I activity continued to decline in 2007, despite the additional funds directed at improving the condition of existing social homes.