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Affordable homes construction receives £1.3bn funding boost

Funds totalling nearly £1.3bn have been allocated to boost the construction of affordable homes across England.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has earmarked £886m for 160 housing providers while Mayor of London Boris Johnson, under the Mayor’s Housing Covenant for 2015-18, is handing over £404m to 54 housing bodies.

The Affordable Homes Programme for 2015-18 was launched in January to provide £1.7bn in grant funding to providers of affordable homes outside London. The money released this week is intended to fund the construction of nearly 38,000 new homes by 2018, with the remaining £814m to be “made available via continuous market engagement in due course”.

Under the plans, the greatest share of funding was allocated to housing providers in the Midlands, receiving an allocation of £226.6m towards the provision of 10,024 new affordable homes.

According to housing minister Brand Lewis, the Affordable Homes Programme will change the way homes are built in Britain. For instance, a fifth of the homes will be built with cutting edge “advanced housing manufacture”, where parts are manufactured in factories before being assembled on site – a technique used widely on the continent.

Lewis said: “House building is an essential part of this government’s long-term economic plan. That’s why we have designed an ambitious new scheme to build affordable homes at the fastest rate for 20 years, which will support 165,000 jobs in construction and sustain thousands of small businesses.

“Our programme will use the latest construction technology to deliver high-quality homes, helping to transform the way we build in Britain, and providing homes where future generations will want to live and raise families of their own.”

Following the allocation of the funding, HCA chief executive Andy Rose stated that his organisation has set in place a solid delivery programme that will ensure a smooth transition from its current Affordable Homes Programme, and that delivery can start promptly.

“The allocations are closely aligned with locally identified priorities and offer value for money and increased certainty of delivery, with over 75% of the homes we are funding on firm schemes,” he added.

(Image: c. John Blower)

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