This comes as part of a long-term plan for housing, to support the economy and create a sustainable future.
The not-for-profit organisation, which manages nearly 50,000 homes and builds around 1,000 new affordable homes each year, believes that a laser focus from government on housing is the key to a better economic outcome, safer communities and a healthier nation.
Commenting on the key actions published today, Chief Executive of Orbit Group, Phil Andrew, said: “Good housing – the right housing – is more than just bricks and mortar. It creates jobs, feeds the economy, and provides affordable homes. It can drive the change we need to make the UK a more sustainable and prosperous place. But only if we give it the focus it deserves.
If we invest in the right approach to housing, we will reduce national spend, grow the economy and unlock multiple policy outcomes. But we need government support.
We want to work with Government to deliver key actions which will help the sector drive the greatest impact. If we make these changes, together we absolutely will see a better economic outcome for the nation.”
Orbit is calling on the Government to:
- Create surety through a five-year rent policy so housing associations can invest more into their homes, build more homes, and provide more support for their customers.
- Create jobs, rebuild the economy, reduce long term public sector spend and reducing housing waiting lists by prioritising spend on new affordable homes.
- Build more affordable homes and revitalise local communities by making the Affordable Housing Programme more agile and expansive.
- Build more affordable homes, encourage regeneration and accelerate energy efficiency works to existing homes by simplifying the planning process.
- Help people to age in place by creating dedicated planning requirements and higher grant rates for older people’s homes.
- Help reduce people’s bills, create the jobs of the future, and deliver on the Government’s net zero carbon targets by investing in green skills and supply chains.
- Improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s homes by extending zero-rated VAT on building materials and services for energy efficiency home improvements.
Phil Andrew adds: “Housebuilding is a major employer and driver of economic growth.
It supports around 800,000 jobs, and in just one year, generated £40bn of economic activity, £71mn investment in our public spaces, and £192mn much needed investment in our schools.
But we currently spend more public money on paying housing benefit for more expensive, private rented housing, than we do on increasing the supply of affordable homes. If we just shifted some of this existing spend from subsidising private landlords into building more, new affordable homes, we could create more jobs, reduce housing waiting lists, reduce spend public spending, and boost the economy.
What’s more, we know investing in affordable housing improves lives, helping to reduce poverty, support positive childhood experiences and improve mental health. Diverting funding into affordable housing just absolutely makes sense. And this is just one example of why good housing is the key to a better economic outcome, safer communities and a healthier nation.”