Repair programme may be cut to fund £1.5bn manifesto pledge for 30,000 new social homes, say newspaper reports

Newspaper reports suggest that prime minister Gordon Brown has raided the communities department's own Decent Homes refurbishment initiative and other capital programmes to pay for the 30,000 extra social homes announced in yesterday's draft election manifesto, Building Britain's Future.

The Times claims that the department was being asked to foot half the bill for the £1.5bn boost, but had refused. It reported that 200,000 homes would remain in disrepair if Decent Homes, the programme to bring all social housing up to decent living standards by next year, was abandoned.

The rest of the funding would come from underspending in other departments, the newspaper paper said. The health department would provide £350m from savings on unspecified capital projects while the transport department would find cash from on the M25 widening programme.

A spokesman for the communities department told Building: “The funding will come from a range of products across CLG and government. It is in place and we are taking forward the PM's announcement yesterday and we will let people know more shortly.”

Yesterday, Lord Mandelson told Radio Four's today programme that £50m would come from the Home Office and the transport department.