Inside Housing reports that:
“Three of London’s largest housing associations are planning to form a mammoth 135,000-home social landlord capable of building 100,000 homes in 10 years.”
This is the latest in the growing trend towards amalgamations and commercialisation of the sector. The key thing to note is the breakdown of the 100,000 homes they intend to build over 10 years.
50,000 for market rent and sale
25,000 for”affordable rent” (up to 80% of market rent) and
25,000 for ‘low-cost ownership’ for first time buyers (presumably ‘Starter Homes’).
In other words they will be build not a single home for ‘social rent’. This is another indication of the abandonment by some Housing Associations of their ‘social purpose’ under the lash of government policy. Admittedly some of them appear to like the lash.
David Montague, the head of the biggest of the three, L&Q said:
“Our plans will allow us to tackle the housing crisis head on, driving greater efficiency, building more homes, creating beautiful new places and sustainable, independent communities. At the heart of our united mission will be the continued provision of affordable homes for those in need.”
That depends whether you agree with the government’s elastic definition of “affordable homes”.
As well as abandoning building homes for ‘social rent’ the new organisation is going to partake it a bit of social engineering. Sounding like a government minister, Elaine Baliey, chief executive of Hyde, one of the three, sets the tone for the new organisation when she says that they would ‘set out a vision for the new giant organisation’ which includes tackling the ‘dependency culture’. These social tenants do not take enough ‘personal responsibility in respecting their homes and making an effort to help themselves’.
No wonder housing minister Brandon Lewis is waxing lyrical about this development, saying this is exactly what housing associations should be doing.