Shapps: 'Difficult to imagine a world without government grant for housing'
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government
Housing Pact delivered to Grant Shapps at CIH conference
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said today it would be “difficult to imagine” a world where there is no government grant for housing.
Speaking ahead of his keynote address to the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference in Manchester, Shapps told journalists that he was aware of the sector’s concerns of a grant-free world post 2015 but said it was too early to make predictions about the future.
“For a start there is the small issue of a general election between now and the next spending round,” he pointed out. “But let’s be clear, it is difficult to imagine a world where there is no Government grant at all.”
Shapps praised housing associations for their role in making the current Affordable Rent programme such a success and said contracts were in place to ensure 170,000 homes would be built through it by 2015.
He said the £4.5 billion put into the scheme by the Government had helped to generate an additional £15bn from the sector, a figure that Shapps confessed “absolutely amazed” him.
Shapps confirmed that there was likely to be another round of Affordable Rent in the future but rather than being the “rough and ready” exercise that was put together in a short space of time ahead of the 2010 Spending Review, there was now an opportunity to explore a whole range of funding options – adding that housing association balance sheets continued to look very healthy.
Shapps thanked the housing sector for helping to deliver his housebuilding programme and said that one of his regrets as housing minister was that he should have had “more faith” in its ability to deliver.
Commenting on his relationship with the sector, he said he still considered himself “something of an outsider” but in many ways found it quite useful.