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Shapps seeks private investment in social housing

Housing Minister Grant Shapps and economic secretary Chloe Smith have published a consultation paper seeking views on how to encourage more private investment into the social housing sector.



Yuan Phoon, 4 April, 2012

Shapps and Smith are looking at real estate investment trusts for those wishing to invest in property.

The current Finance Bill is introducing a series of measures to support entry to and investment in Real Estate Investment Trusts. The consultation will build on these measures considering potential further changes to Real Estate Investment Trusts to support the establishment of more of these in the social housing sector.

The consultation follows the successful Affordable Homes Programme, which levered in private funding from providers of almost £10bn and which is set to exceed expectations and deliver 170,000 homes - 20,000 more than originally thought.

Shapps said: “I am determined that we do all we can to get Britain building, and these reforms will help build more affordable homes, boost investment in housing and increase choice for tenants.

“That's why we're launching today's consultation, to see how we can best break down the barriers that prevents private investment in social housing - with the turnover from housing associations now at over £12bn this should be seen as a sound and stable investment to those looking for a long-term return."

Smith said: “The government is keen to see more affordable homes and encourage innovative ways of investing in the social housing sector. That's why we are exploring how Real Estate Investment Trusts could attract new private sector finance.

“As well as delivering much-needed accommodation for families, expanding Real Estate Investment Trusts into social housing could present value for money for the taxpayer. I look forward to hearing views during the consultation.”

Private investment is vital to help fund the supply of new homes but ministers also want to see greater innovation and diversity in the management and delivery of affordable housing.

Shapps also announced that three companies - Orchard and Shipman, Shanley, and Pinnacle Spaces - have already signed up to become commercial providers of social housing.

The registration of these organisations will help bring the innovation and investment needed to deliver even more of the affordable homes the country needs.

Perry Lloyd, chief executive of the Pinnacle Regeneration Group, said: “We are extremely excited about this new phase in Pinnacle's life as a leading provider of social housing solutions.

“We are working with the government and its agencies to overcome barriers posed by current constraints in traditional public financing and delivery routes to provide new private funding and contribute to much needed affordable housing supply.”




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