More on the affordable housing cuts – a £200m plug for a £400m hole

7 07 2010

The planned C2 project in Clapham Park, London - 105 affordable homes threatened by funding cuts

The Homes and Communities Agency has got back to me with figures on the affordable housing budget cuts.

You may recall that government funding cuts have left a shortfall in the agency’s budget. As a result, there will be cutbacks in affordable housing programmes across the country – with 4,500 affordable homes at risk of cancellation.

This morning the HCA told me that £200m of funding the government released on Monday will go towards trying to make up this shortfall.

This money will go towards funding at risk schemes under the Kickstart 2 and Local Authority New Build (LANB) programmes, plus projects under the National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP).

Now, looking at the figures published yesterday, £240m worth of Kickstart 2 schemes and £60m worth of LANB projects are at risk. The NAHP funding pot was cut by £100m in late May.

That leaves a £400m black hole of affordable housing projects at risk of cancellation, with £200m for the HCA to salvage what it can. I’ve just been on the phone to the agency and it confirmed this is the case.

The HCA announced yesterday that it will be able to proceed with 8,500 affordable homes under schemes it has already approved or signed contracts for – these are secure and will definitely go ahead.

However, half of the remaining, uncommitted schemes – the 4,500 affordable homes – may not now go ahead. £200m of funding won’t be able to plug a £400m black hole.

To the HCA’s credit, it will be using what money it has to maximise social housing – just as it has tried to prioritise social housing schemes in approving Kickstart 2 projects.

There is a chance, then, that vital regeneration schemes such the North Priory estate in Dudley (63 percent social housing) will take priority over the luxury Caspian Wharf development in London (0 percent social housing).

But given the size of the black hole, some crucial schemes will undoubtedly now not go ahead.

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