Budget 2017: ‘A huge missed opportunity’

Peabody chair Lord Kerslake says a step in the right direction didn’t hit stride.

lord kerslake

Peabody chair Lord Kerslake says the budget feels like “a huge missed opportunity” for significant capital investment in new social homes.

Kerslake told 24housing that with the benefits  of investing in social housing well known and understood, chancellor Philip Hammond erred on the side of caution in taking a step forward.

Having removed housing association debt from the public balance sheet, the sector saw an opportunity for the government to make a significant capital investment in new social housing.

Kerslake committed Peabody to scaling up for the delivery of 2,500 new homes a year.

“With more public investment we could deliver more social housing -so we will continue to make the social and economic case for government support and investment to complement our own.

“We will also continue to speak up for our residents where policies are causing hardship.”

The Autumn Budget contained details of how, £44bn will be committed to help the housing market over the next five years.

By the mid-2020s, the government wants 300,000 homes being built every year – the highest level since the 1970s.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that with the worst rate of housebuilding since the 1920s and 250,000 fewer council homes “any commitment” would be welcome.

The £44bn falls well short of the £50bn communities secretary Sajid Javid was said to be seeking – and much of it is wrapped up in loans and guarantees rather than immediate cash.