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Coalition’s record on ‘affordable housing’ worse than Labour’s

The Coalition’s record of starting and delivering affordable housing project through Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) programmes is poorer than the previous government. 

This is according to the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH’s) UK Housing Review 2015, which revealed that, judged against performance under the last year of the previous government, starts have fallen from 53,917 in 2009-10 to 41,654 in 2013-14. 

During the same period, completions fell from 53,172 to 36,352, according to data from the DCLG’s Live Table. 

The Review’s ‘Housing expenditure plans’ chapter shows that both starts and completions would have to recover remarkably in the second half of 2014-15 to bring output back to the levels of five years earlier. 

CIH added that given the “drastic” fall in the grants budget the falls in starts and completions are hardly surprising. 

Gavin Smart, interim chief executive at CIH, said that successive governments have failed to put in place a joined-up, long-term strategy to tackle the housing crisis.

The review makes the case for a fundamental review of housing policy, he added. It calls for co-ordinated, sustained action over at least a decade – including putting targets and incentives in place for new house building of all tenures (ownership, shared ownership, private rent and social rent). 

Smart said: “Making housing more affordable means building more homes of all tenures – for ownership, shared ownership, private rent and social rent.  To do this we need political will, commitment and leadership. We want all political parties to commit to ending the housing crisis within a generation.” 

Responding to the latest review, housing minister Brandon Lewis MP said the government had “inherited a broken market devastated by the 2008 housing crash, with housebuilding at its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s”. Lewis also noted that, in general, housebuilding volumes are rising across the country. 

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