Homes and Communities Agency

Jim Pickard

John Healey, shadow housing minister, reckons that £450m has already been chopped from the government’s spending on housing since the election. That, he says, will cost about 6,000 new homes and a similar number of jobs.

Some free market Tory MPs may want to go even further. Why not cut the entire “National Affordable Housing Programme”, designed to produce more social housing* via grants to housing associations? The NAHP also provides five different “HomeBuy” schemes which subsidise first-time buyers and low-income workers to purchase homes.

Saving

DCLG has £6.2bn a year of capital spending, most of which goes towards housing. The National Affordable Housing Programme is £2.48bn of that in the current year.

The case for keeping it

Key workers and first-time buyers struggle to afford their own home after UK house prices soared in the last decade. That can have a damaging impact on labour markets. With councils having failed to build many new houses in recent years, housing associations have taken up the slack.