ODPM prepares to hear bids for low-cost homes across the regions.

The government has announced how it will divvy up the £5.5 bn ear-marked for housing investment between Regional Housing Pots (RHPs) for the next two years. Funds will be used to reduce homelessness, get more people onto the property ladder and to regenerate communities.

£3.9 bn will be allocated for social rented housing and low-cost homeonwership schemes across the regions – an increase of 20 per cent from 2004-05 and 2005-06. £1.6 bn will go to local authorities to improve existing housing stock.

Housing minister Baroness Andrews said: “This reflects an increased focus on helping people unable to afford adequate housing as well as those having difficulty getting onto the housing ladder.”

For the first time, developers and other non-registered bodies will be able to enter in the Housing Corporation’s National Affordable Housing Programme first bidding round. Final allocations of funds for affordable housing will be made after the bidding. The office of the deputy prime minister said that it would work with the Housing Corporation and Regional Housing Boards during the bidding process to ensure that the final allocations reflected the commitments made in Homes for All. These commitments include delivering 75,000 new social homes by March 2008 and maintaining levels of affordable housing in rural areas.