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SFHA at the Nat Fed Housing Finance Conference

Reflections on the National Housing Federation’s Housing Finance conference

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Last week SFHA attended the National Housing Federation’s Housing Finance conference which took place in Liverpool. The conference was both an opportunity to meet with colleagues in the English sector to share ideas, but also to compare and contrast the impact of different funding approaches.

A number of conference speeches and sessions were relevant to both England and Scotland – from insurance premiums and loan covenants to the use of data and potential uses of AI. But there were also key differences, with an understandable focus on the next UK General Election and a greater emphasis on the cost of building safety remediation compared to decarbonisation.

There was also a strong emphasis on the provision of affordable and intermediate rents, alongside shared ownership opportunities. Indeed, the number of additional affordable and shared ownership homes far outstrips the number of new social homes, and has done over the last decade. Alongside this, the English sector relies far more on private investment compared to Scotland, due in part to cuts by the UK Government to the English Affordable Homes Programme (funding for which fell from £8.4bn to £4.5bn for the period 2016 – 21).

The Westminster Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee is soon to report on an inquiry into The finances and sustainability of the social housing sectorWhile the 2021 – 26 allocation of the Affordable Homes Programme stands at £11.4bn, the inquiry should provide insight into the impact of reduced government grant and may provide lessons to be learned for the social housing sector in Scotland.

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