Lord Hylton – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Communities and Local Government

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Hylton on 2016-10-03.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that the funds allocated for new housing are used promptly; what steps they are taking to ensure that the housing revenue account borrowing programme is fully used by local authorities and housing associations; and what assessment they have made of whether greater flexibility between allocations is now necessary.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

There are a number of government programmes that support the delivery of new homes including the biggest affordable housing programme since the 1970s.

Government affordable housing programmes are bid-based. The Homes and Communities Agency manages programmes outside London, and the Greater London Authority in London. A programme is normally launched through a bid round with a publication of prospectus which sets out information required for bids, eligibility and assessment criteria and grant conditions. Providers can submit bids to the grant-giving body who assess bids based on the criteria set out in the prospectus, focusing on value for money and deliverability. This allows for flexibility between allocations because value for money can be assessed across products, tenures, geographies and the types of providers. The Homes and Communities Agency carries out quarterly contract reviews with each provider to ensure delivery is on track. Through this route we have delivered 193,000 affordable homes between 2011 and 2015, exceeding the target by 23,000.

The Government also regularly monitors the additional borrowing that local authority have been allocated under the Housing Revenue Account borrowing programme to ensure delivery of the provision of new affordable homes. We also consider applications from local authorities seeking flexibility in the profiling of their borrowing allocations across years. However, flexibility is not needed between authorities’ allocations as the programme, which was time limited, is now closed, and authorities are making good progress in using their allocations to deliver affordable homes.