Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by National Housing Federation and Chartered Institute of Housing

Examination of Witnesses(Questions 234-239)




  234. Can I welcome you to the Committee and can I ask you to identify yourselves for the record please.
  (Mr Coulter) I am Jim Coulter from the National Housing Federation. On my left is my colleague John Perry, who is director of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing. On my right is Robin Tetlow who is managing director of Tetlow King, who is an advisor to both of our organisations, many housing associations, local authorities and developers and has a lot of planning letters after his name.

  235. Thank you very much. Do you want to say anything by way of introduction or are you happy for us to go straight into questions?

  (Mr Coulter) In view of time we are happy to proceed with your questions.

Mr O'Brien

  236. In your submissions you say that there is no doubt that there is considerable uncertainty as to whether the ten-year target can be achieved in housing. Can you give a bit more knowledge on that?
  (Mr Coulter) Are you talking about the Decent Homes standard?

  237. I am talking about the ten-year plan for achieving the Government's target of improving housing stock.
  (Mr Coulter) Could we perhaps divide that into two parts. If I could answer for housing associations and John Perry could pick up the local authority assessment. We have been doing some work with the Housing Corporation and the Corporation recently produced at the beginning of this month a research report which indicated a range of percentages of housing association stock which currently meets or is estimated to meet the Decent Homes standard. On average, the figure is about 22 per of the total of 1.8 million stock which does not meet the standard. At the high end of that spectrum is the most recently transferred stock from the local authority sector which, by definition, must be at the poorer end, that is why it was transferred, and the so-called existing traditional stock is something under 20 per cent. Our view is that over the ten-year period the Decent Homes standard for housing association housing stock would be met if there is an additional resource of around £70 million a year through asset management grants to add to the borrowing capacity.

  238. In your submission you say that we would need 83,000 new, affordable homes every year. If we are going to achieve the target of the ten-year programme, are you suggesting we are going to need that?
  (Mr Coulter) The resource base for the delivery of new housing, leaving aside the Decent Homes standard, we are not yet clear about. We have the one year approved development programme which the Housing Minister, Lord Rooker, announced at the National Housing Federation's conference and we await years two and three to be announced by the Deputy Prime Minister in the statement some time around the turn of the year. Our best estimate of what the public resources (to which housing associations will add private funding) will produce is a little over 19,000 homes from the so-called mainstream approved development programme. There are about 4,000 from the new Challenge Fund and about 7,000 to 8,000 are produced by the Local Authority Social Housing Grant route, but that may change because of proposals which the Government has made about capital receipts, and then in addition, as the research produced only a few days ago by the Rowntree Foundation produced by Cambridge University and Sheffield University shows there are perhaps 9,000 homes not produced with forms of public subsidy by registered social landlords. So a total of 40,000 or so will be produced out of the resource base that we see available, so the gap is very substantial indeed.

  239. So progress being made to achieve that is very little?
  (Mr Coulter) The progress is greater than it was, that is for sure, but we are nowhere near the peak of housing investment.

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