Warning over rented housing cash boost

SUFFOLK'S £23 million boost by the government for the rented housing sector today came with a warning that it was totally inadequate for the needs of a growing county.

SUFFOLK'S £23 million boost by the government for the rented housing sector today came with a warning that it was totally inadequate for the needs of a growing county.

The Housing Association announced that it was providing enough money to build 850 new rental homes across the county for the next two years.

But Ipswich council leader Liz Harsant warned that would hardly scratch the surface in the county town which is seeing a rapid increase in new home building.

She said: “There are thousands of new homes going up in Ipswich, with Cranfields Mill and many other new homes around the Waterfront.

“If you look at 850 homes across the seven local authorities in Suffolk over two years, the Housing Corporation money isn't going to go far in Ipswich over that time.

“We should get funding for a few homes in Foxhall Road, but it isn't going to be a great boost for us.”

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Mrs Harsant warned that lack of support for the social rented sector in Ipswich was a serious problem in the town.

She said: “The cost of houses and flats is beyond the means of many people who are looking to buy their first home.

“It is vital to have a strong social housing sector. Any new homes for this sector are very welcome but we really do need to see much more money than this made available.”

Housing minister Yvette Cooper said: “We need more affordable homes, both for families to rent and for first time buyers as well.

“This programme will significantly increase affordable housing as part of the Government's plans to build new homes for the next generation.”

Sheila Button, Housing Corporation Board Member with special responsibility for the East of England, said: “Today we have confirmed our clear commitment to meet the housing needs of Suffolk residents.

“Our investment will make a major contribution across the Region, and help to ease the pressure on key workers and those on low incomes.

“The Regional Housing Board has identified where Suffolk needs more affordable homes and the Housing Corporation is going to see them built.”

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