HCLG Select Committee report supports NHF calls for building more social homes

12 August 2020

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee recently published a report on building more social housing, which backs our calls for 90,000 new social homes a year.

Following the 2019 General Election, the Committee re-launched its ongoing inquiry into the long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing. It examined the effectiveness of current government strategies to boost social and affordable rented housing provision.

It also assessed the adequacy of funding levels, as well as programmes and incentives for key stakeholders such as local authorities and housing associations, to stimulate delivery. 

The Committee’s subsequent report makes a strong case for increased government investment in building social homes, concluding that despite the best efforts of social housing providers, cross-subsidy alone will not fix the ‘social housing crisis’.

The Committee shares our view that 90,000 social homes are needed each year to address declining stock and increasing demand. The Committee believes this target can be met within five years, but only if social housing providers – including housing associations – are supported in meeting it.

We submitted several pieces of written evidence to the inquiry, and Kate Henderson appeared before the Committee to supply oral evidence in September 2019.

We were delighted to see so many of the issues we raised reflected in the findings and recommendations of the report. These recommendations also reflect our calls for homes to be at the heart of social and economic recovery from coronavirus.

The Committee’s main findings and recommendations:

  • £10bn per year should be made available for social housebuilding: "A large social housebuilding programme should be top of the Government’s agenda to rebuild the country from the impact of Covid-19".
  • Investment in social housing provides an economic boost that pays for itself over time.
  • The cross-subsidy model for building social rent homes is reaching its limits, and the government needs to understand this.
  • 100% of Right to Buy receipts should be retained by local authorities for housebuilding.
  • Processes of securing land for building social housing need significant reform – land should be used first and foremost to help solve the housing crisis and not simply a means to raise revenue.
  • The government should allow providers to be flexible in how grant funding is used, including by allowing them to buy homes from developers that may go unsold during a recession.

Several pieces of NHF research are cited in the report: