Theresa May pledges extra £2bn for affordable housing – but is it enough?
In her keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister Theresa May was expected to put Britain’s broken housing market centre stage in a bid to appeal to young people priced out of homeownership.
She told the audience in Manchester that she would make it her ‘mission’ to solve the problem of the broken housing market and take personal charge of it.
The Prime Minister announced that the government will invest an extra £2bn in affordable housing, taking the total investment to £9bn. Mrs May also called on housing developers to ‘do your duty to Britain and build the homes our country needs’.
The pledge follows an announcement earlier this week of an extra £10bn into the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme.
Not good enough
The affordable housing boost had been much trumpeted to the press before today’s speech, but some experts were surprised that the actual investment wasn’t at the scale hoped for.
The Government has admitted that the increased funding will provide an estimated 5,000 extra homes a year over the next five years, totalling just 25,000 new affordable homes.
As Michael Oxley, director of the Cambridge Centre for housing and planning research, said in The Guardian, this amount is ‘chicken feed’ when compared to the chronic shortage of affordable and social housing.
Charles McDowell, Aldermore’s commercial director, mortgages, welcomed the extra investment into affordable housing but noted that the infrastructure also needed to be in place. He said: “It is important not to focus on house building alone. There are a number of infrastructure considerations that need to be made alongside planning proposals.
“As well as homes, people need schools, transport, other services and amenities. Policymakers need to stop considering each issue as a standalone problem and take a holistic perspective.”