HCA outlines process for 2015-18 affordable housing programme

Andy Rose

The Homes and Communities Agency has set out a timetable for launching the 2015-18 Affordable Housing Programme launched by George Osborne in June.

The £3.3bn programme was unveiled at this summer’s spending review, designed to fund the construction of 165,000 affordable homes in the three years following the next election.

HCA chief executive Andy Rose today said that bidding guidance would be issued by the HCA before the end of the year, with those applying for grant having to submit bids by April 2014.

The HCA will make a decision on the recipients of the government cash by July next year.

Rose said the detailed timetable would allow the HCA to ensure that delivery of new homes started “on day one” of the new programme. The current four year 170,000 homes affordable housing programme was heavily criticised after its introduction led to a major fall-off in affordable housing starts while housing associations geared up for the new system. The HCA says this programme is, however, on target to deliver the 170,000 homes by 2015 despite the slow start.

Andy Rose, chief executive of the HCA, said: “Today we have set a timetable that makes the very best use of the lead-in time to 1 April 2015.  It is a timetable intended to ensure that delivery of the existing programme remains the focus in this financial year, and that the pipeline for the current Affordable Homes Programme is largely on site by the time we come to consider bids for the new Programme. 

“At the same time, we are keen to ensure that we reach funding decisions at an early stage to allow schemes under the new programme to start to progress, ready for a strong start on delivery right from day one.”

Rose said bidding organisations would be assessed on the amount of private funding they could bring in to support new home building, while ensuring financial viability. The HCa will also take past delivery performance into account.

Housing Minister, Mark Prisk, said: “I’m delighted that the timetable for building 165,000 new affordable homes after 2015, with £23.3 billion of public and private investment, is taking shape. The current programme is on track and exceeded original expectations, and today’s announcement will ensure we continue this progress and to build thousands of new affordable family homes across the country.”