Spring Budget 2023: National Housing Federation submission

10 February 2023

The housing crisis remains the key domestic challenge facing the country today. By working with housing associations on the measures outlined in this submission, the government can deliver the affordable, energy efficient, high quality homes the country needs. Together we can level up communities, tackle homelessness, ensure everyone feels safe in their home and give people the support they need to thrive.

Housing associations share the government’s ambition for better homes and communities for everyone. Housing associations exist to provide good quality, affordable social homes for people who need them and offer vital services to support their communities. The lower rents our members charge save tenants £9bn annually. Our members are committed to investing in the supply and quality of social housing. In 2020/21 housing associations built more than 38,000 new homes, directly adding £2.1bn to the national economy and supporting more than 36,000 jobs. Housing associations are taking action to address the urgent issues of quality that exist in some of the homes in the sector. Following the publication of The Better Social Housing Review report, the NHF and our members are working to develop an action plan to help the sector implement the recommendations from the review.

Housing associations strongly welcomed the certainty of the 7% cap on social rent increases in 2023/24 and are committed to doing all they can to support residents through the cost of living crisis. However, costs of building and maintaining social homes continue to rise significantly above 7%, and in many cases above inflation itself, stretching housing associations’ ability to deliver on our priorities. Index-linked rent increases are crucial to securing lending to finance investment.

We welcome the announcement of £30m to improve the quality of social housing in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. We urge the government to consider how similar funding can be made available across the country and are keen to work with the government on how this could be administered.

In this Budget, the government has an opportunity to commit to the investment needed to end the housing crisis for good. Housing associations stand ready to raise and invest the funding needed to meet the big housing challenges: ensuring homes are of high quality and are safe and secure, while meeting Britain’s sustainability and climate challenges, as well as building the new affordable homes we need. To secure the housing our country needs, the government must invest.

In this Budget, the government has the opportunity to:

  • Help tackle homelessness and boost social and economic opportunities by maximising the use of existing funding through the Affordable Homes Programme.
  • Make sure everyone can feel safe in their home by negotiating with contractors, as well as developers, to remediate defective buildings that they built for housing associations.
  • Deliver on its net zero commitments by releasing the full remaining Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund beyond 2025. This will provide longer term funding certainty, growing the economy and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs across the country.
  • Help people into better homes that meet their needs, alleviate homelessness and deliver savings to the NHS and social care budgets through the provision of a fair and effective support and welfare system, long term funding for supported housing and funding for homelessness prevention.

Housing associations stand ready to work with the government to deliver on these shared ambitions and work towards providing a good quality, safe and affordable home for everyone.

Who to speak to

Rory Hughes, Policy Officer