Homes England funding rule undermines ‘levelling-up agenda’

The Rural Services Network was concerned to read the article in Local Gov this week which highlighted research from Knight Frank indicating that ‘a disproportionate amount of Government funding for housing is being given to the UK’s most affluent areas’. This only reflects a very narrow view of housing need.

Housing is relatively expensive to buy or to rent privately in rural areas and can be beyond the means of many. The average house purchase price is £44,000 higher in rural areas than it is in urban areas . As a result of this plus relatively low local wages, housing is less affordable in rural than in urban areas (excepting London). This remains true for those buying at the cheaper end of the housing market. Young people and families continue to be priced out of the rural areas where they grew up and where their families live.

The RSN therefore believes that Homes England should increase the provision in its recently announced Affordable Homes Programme for rural areas from 10% to at least 13% to match last year’s delivery. 17% of England’s population (more than those who live in Greater London) live in rural areas so even 13% is low.

If an area has high average house prices, it is vital to ensure that communities contain a mix of housing tenure and that affordable homes  to buy or rent are available to those on local wages.  This is essential to support the Government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda.

The article is available below:

The website reports that a disproportionate amount of government funding for housing is reportedly being given to the UK’s most affluent areas

New research by Knight Frank has revealed that 80 per cent of Homes England funding is going to the least affordable – and often most affluent – areas of the country, which represent only about 43 per cent of the population.

By comparison, the most affordable – and often poorest – areas of the country (57 per cent of the population) only receive 20 per cent of Homes England funding.

The report explains that this distribution of funding is the result of the Government’s 80:20 rule on Homes England funding, which aims to provide funding to the areas where it’s presumed additional housing demand was likely to be most acute.

The analysis shows that all of the Red Wall constituencies in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North of England fail the test and therefore receive no more than 20 per cent of funding.

As a result, the report calls for renewed cross-departmental policymaking if the Government is ‘serious’ about its levelling-up agenda.

Full article: - Homes England funding rule undermines ‘levelling-up agenda’


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