My spending review wish list
The outcome of the spending review is fast approaching. Submissions are in and the horse trading now begins. For housing, it will be quite different from CSR 2010. Quite a lot of thought has gone into it this time, unlike the hastily, though ingeniously conceived Affordable Rent product that legend has it was conceived over a chilly weekend in September 2010. Rumours have it that the deal has already been done.
So, what do we hope to see in the Chancellor’s sack of goodies this time?
1) A new settlement on rents. It has been signalled that there will be a long-term policy direction. It may not give the freedoms that some might want, but if it gives some certainty for local authority and registered provider financial planning, that’s got to be a good thing.
2) Affordable Rent. Another round, but this time with a recognition that it is a product for a non- traditional client group, that is not benefit dependent. It would be great to see an acknowledgement that there are regional differences and that the Midlands and the North need a policy that reflects their circumstances, rather than one that is just about London and the south.
3) Accelerated land release. The HCA has a new CEO, charged with striking deals to create more homes. Give him and the Agency more freedom and authority to make the deals happen.
4) Bring back section 106. The savings from the holiday on delivering section 106 housing obligations went pretty much straight to the housebuilders’ bottom line. Let’s get it back to contributing to supporting more homes.
5) Freedoms for local authorities to build on their own, and with the registered provider and private sectors.
Oh and an increase in investment would be good, particularly since we know that construction spending has an immediate positive impact on the economy But I suppose, let’s be real, it’s a spending review, not Christmas.
Steve Douglas. Steve can be contacted on 07810 152840, firstname.lastname@example.org