To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect on the number of communities (a) bringing forward and (b) completing projects of the length of the period for which the Community Housing Fund is open to them; and if he will make a statement.
The Government recognises that the community-led housing sector offers significant potential for helping to meet housing need across England. In addition to helping increase the rate of delivery of new housing, it will help deliver a range of benefits including diversifying the housebuilding sector, improving design and construction quality, developing modern methods of construction, and sustaining local communities and local economies. The support and close involvement of the local community enables the community-led approach to secure planning permission and deliver housing that could not be brought forward through speculative development.
The Community Housing Fund aims to support an increase in housing supply in England by increasing the number of additional homes delivered by the community-led housing sector; to provide housing that is affordable at local income levels and remains so in perpetuity; and to deliver a lasting legacy for the community-led housing sector in the form of an effective and financially self-sustaining body of expertise within the house building industry in England. Through this fund, housing will be delivered where the mainstream market is unable to deliver and will be tailored to meet specific local needs. It will help sustain local communities and local economies and help raise the bar in design and construction standards.
The Community Housing Fund is currently scheduled to close in March 2020. While the programme was launched relatively recently, there is still time for many community-led housebuilding schemes to access funding and deliver housing, although we appreciate that this will be more difficult for very new schemes.
All proposals to extend the Fund beyond March 2020 will be given due consideration but decisions on funding for 2020-21 onwards are a matter for the Spending Review, which will take place this year. Factors that are likely to be taken into account include the value for money being achieved by the Fund and how successful it has been in increasing the number of community-led housing schemes either completed or in progress.