The government must do more to protect social housing stocks by including homes for social rent in its definition of “affordable housing”, the Local Government Association said on Monday.
The LGA has warned that references to “social rent” homes have been omitted from the government’s definition of affordable homes under the latest revision to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Just 2.48% of homes built in 2016-17 were designated for social rent, down from 3.59% the year before, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government statistics released in November 2017.
And the proportion of housing designated as affordable fell to 19% of the total in 2016-17 - a historic low, the LGA reports, citing the same MHCLG figures. With the exception of 2015-16, this proportion has not slipped below 20% since records began.
Judith Blake (Lab), the LGA’s housing spokesperson, said: “Councils are determined to ensure their residents have access to affordable housing. By removing social rent from the definition of affordable housing, the government has effectively removed the tool to help that happen.
“It’s essential that homes of all types and tenure are available so that local communities can deliver a balance of housing to meet a mix of needs. Homes for social rent can, alongside starter homes and new builds, play an important role in a thriving housing market.”
LGC reported in May that 71% of 121 senior Conservative councillors polled by Survation for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation had reported concerns over government spending on delivering low-cost rented homes, despite a pledge in the autumn Budget to deliver an additional £2bn funding.
The LGA has also announced it will publish a report tomorrow, entitled Housing, planning and homelessness, which will advise on how to “deliver genuinely affordable housing” in its forthcoming social housing green paper.
Housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire said in a speech at the think-tank Policy Exchange this morning that the social housing green paper was expected to be published in a matter of weeks.
'A home is so much more than a roof over your head... Homes are the backdrop to our lives and the basis of strong and confident communities' @JBrokenshire speaking at @Policy_Exchange - #WeAreHomesEngland— Homes England (@HomesEngland) July 2, 2018