Arthur Online takes a look at what the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget could contain for social housing.
In March, Philip Hammond announced he had ‘headroom’ of £26 billion in the public accounts. Most commentators agreed that this was actually a war chest, designated for him to try and win back those voters that have abandoned the Torie’s in recent years. One of the key areas that the Conservative Party have failed to gain ground on Labour is social housing and house building. Now, it appears very likely that Hammond will use at least some of his budget to up the spend on these areas.
Every day, there are new reports that Britain is falling behind on its house building targets. With a growing population, the scariest articles make it sound like nobody will have a home by the end of next year! To this end, Hammond will give small building companies loans in order to help them hire the employees they need to ramp up their business.
The Chancellor will also give more help to housing associations to help them build more. At the Torie party conference, Hammond announced some breaks for the group. However, he was lambasted for not going far enough. Now expect to see Hammond offering them more incentives to start building social properties.
Hammond will also start to give local councils more power. The Autumn Budget is expected to see local authorities being given the power to borrow in order to secure loans for construction. Since the 1980’s, there has been no new true council housing built. Whilst this new power is likely to be restricted quite heavily by the central government, it gives local authorities a bit of leeway, allowing them to choose what is best for their community.
For social housing, the commitment from this budget will be to build the stock of the future. However, there is also the threat of welfare reform in the autumn budget. Whilst the universal credit reform slowly becomes live, social tenants and landlords may be thrown into disarray.