Osborne promises affordable properties to cushion large social housing savings

CHANCELLOR George Osborne said yesterday that 150,000 affordable homes will be built by 2015, in a bid to ease the housing shortage.

The spending review also promised to make it simpler to get permission to build new homes.

The plans are intended to support private sector growth to balance out cuts to the housing welfare systems. However, some commentators were sceptical of the private sector’s ability to plug the gap. “The government’s planned cuts to local housing allowance could well result in heavy additional financial burdens on the private rented sector, at precisely the time that demand for affordable housing to rent will be increasing,” said David Salusbury of the National Landlords Association.

The government has promised to reexamine its own property expenditure, having appointed Sir Philip Green to review its real estate holdings. Osborne said yesterday a pilot property management body will be rolled out in London and Bristol this year, and is set to make “substantial gains” from the government’s portfolio once rolled out nationwide.