Government ‘Should Focus On Building Affordable Homes’

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Government ‘Should Focus On Building Affordable Homes’

Government ‘Should Focus On Building Affordable Homes’

The need for more high-quality, affordable housing has never been greater in the UK. That’s according to the chief executive of Unity Homes and Enterprise Ali Akbor who told the Yorkshire Post recently that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to focus on constructing these types of properties.

Mr Akbor explained that the pandemic is having a “disproportionate effect” on the most deprived areas of the country, adding that many of these have yet to recover from the years of austerity following the global financial crash.

He stressed that the national housing crisis was there before the pandemic, and is only going to get more challenging as a result of events this year.

“We need investment to protect those families most at risk of being left behind and the building of genuinely affordable homes should be at the top of the government’s post-pandemic to-do list,” Mr Akbor stated.

He also revealed that his housing association’s allocation under the current Affordable Homes Programme is for 220 properties, but he knows that they could “build many more in the years ahead with increased government support”.

House building overall is still continuing in Leeds, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, as an article for Inside Housing revealed earlier this month.

In 2019, Leeds City Council set itself a target of constructing 1,500 new homes over five years and head of council housing growth Mark Denton told the publication that the council is still expecting the majority of these properties to be delivered by 2023/24.

“We benefited from the fact that a lot of our stuff is at the pre-planning stage. We only have one scheme on site at the moment, which has managed to keep going and hand over properties,” he explained.

With many more residential properties in the pipeline as part of the council’s ambitions, there could be a greater need for scaffolders in Leeds in the coming months and years to help deliver these new homes.

Mr Denton also revealed that the council is looking more closely at how it can work with developers to help deliver even more new homes for the city and to ensure that all those who need housing have access to it.

“As we emerge from all of this, we will look at opportunities to work with developers to find additional land,” he told the news provider.

Mr Akbor told the Yorkshire Post that many affordable housing providers had been disappointed that there was no mention of a new programme of affordable housing construction announced in Rishi Sunak’s mini-budget earlier in July.

However, he said that he is hopeful that the government will address this, given that it is already exploring a more sustainable, long-term approach to tackling the issue of rough sleeping in the UK.

“A major new drive to build the many additional affordable homes our country needs fits neatly into the same category,” Mr Akbor said.

The country’s construction sector has bounced back to life in recent weeks, with the boost in activity following lockdown exceeding expectations.