Theresa May has announced a funding boost for social housing across the UK, saying that £2bn has been earmarked to build new homes.
According to the Prime Minister, this would cover the building of 40,000 social and affordable homes housing. The pledge covers the next spending review period from 2021 to 2028.
Government critic and Labour peer Andrew Adonis criticised the announcement and compared spending on social housing by the UK government with that of the Scottish Government.
BBC parroting the No 10 hype about social housing ‘£2bn’ today shows their now normal inability to do any REPORTING. This is ONE TENTH of what Scotland is spending on social housing pro rata – it doesn’t even start for 3 years & is spread over the next 7. It is a non-announcement
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) September 19, 2018
Ferret Fact Service looked at the claim that spending was one-tenth of Scotland’s figure. We found this to be Half True.
Housing policy is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Scotland has pursued a different housing policy to Westminster since devolution and has a separate system for building affordable homes.
Lord Adonis claimed that spending on housing in the UK was one tenth of the amount spent in Scotland “pro-rata”. Lord Adonis did not confirm what this referred to when asked by FFS, but it probably means that spending is higher proportional to population size.
The Scottish Government’s ‘More Homes’ initiative has committed to a certain spending level over the course of the current parliament, from 2017/18 to 2020/21
The More Homes Scotland 2018 progress update said: “We’ll spend more than £3 billion to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes”.
It is likely that Lord Adonis is referring to the overall affordable housing investments announced by the respective governments in the UK and Scotland.
The £2bn announced by the Prime Minister covers the period from 2021 to 2028, and would provide housing associations in England with funding to build new homes. This is difficult to compare with Scotland as no budget for the same period has been confirmed. It also covers a very long period, from 2021/22 to 2028/29.
The Scottish Government’s latest budget for the More Homes initiative covers from 2016 to 2021.
The budget allocated to this project was around £3bn, which equates to spending of about £533 per head of population in Scotland.
The £2bn fund announced by Theresa May would mean just £36 per head in England. However, the announced figure is long-term planning and may not be the full amount spent on new housing in England during that period.
The UK Government announced £4.7bn in 2016 for new homes in England as part of the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP). This covers the period from 2016 to 2021, and works out at approximately £85 per head.
However, this was increased to around £9.1bn in the last budget, which would bring the figure per head up to £164.
So, Lord Adonis is broadly correct that overall spending on social and affordable housing is higher per capita in Scotland than in England, but we could not replicate his claim that it was ten times higher.
Scotland has provided more affordable homes per capita than the UK government every year for the last decade, as revealed in a parliamentary question by Scottish MSP Ben Macpherson.
Ferret Fact Service verdict: Half True
Spending on social and affordable housing is currently higher in Scotland than in England, per capita. However, the figures used by Lord Adonis are not really comparable, because they refer to different funding periods and the Scottish Government has not yet confirmed its spending plans for the equivalent period. Scotland and England allocate spending differently and have followed significantly different approaches to housing since devolution.
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