Ministers today announced that original targets for the Affordable Homes Programme are set to be surpassed, with 170,000 houses expected to be built across the country by 2015.
Exceeding the original aspiration to deliver 150,000 new homes, some 146 providers will share £1.8bn funding in a move likely to protect some 80,000 jobs in construction and related trades.
Under the scheme, which forms part of a £4.5bn affordable housing investment pool, providers can charge rents of up to 80% of the local market rate and use additional income to fund new homes and provide flexible tenancies to new tenants. Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, which is delivering the programme, said the strong response 'shows the appetite among the agency's partners to deliver.'
'Through our bidding process our local teams have worked with partners to achieve value for money and the best outcome for communities, the result being that we are now on course to deliver around 80,000 new homes far exceeding expectations,' she said.
Communities minister Andrew Stunell stressed many of the new builds, which will be larger homes for families, are to be sited in towns, cities and rural areas, providing a lifeline to those on social housing waiting lists.
Housing minister Grant Shapps welcomed the news as 'a ringing endorsement from the sector' and rounded on critics who said the scheme 'would not deliver in the current climate' or 'work in the south east but nowhere else.'