8 in 10 local authorities report they are engaged in provision of housing, survey finds

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12th October 2021 13:23 - Local Government

8 in 10 local authorities report they are engaged in provision of housing, survey finds: A survey has revealed that 80% of local authorities have self-reported that they are 'directly engaged' in the provision of housing, which is up significantly from the 69% of authorities reporting the same in 2019.

The Local Authority Direct Provision of Housing: Third Research Report, compiled from the survey data and additional research, also revealed that most of the local authorities polled have a corporate plan, business plan or wider organisational strategy, and of those that do, 80% had prioritised affordable housing provision in their area.

The research by the Bartlett School of Planning found that more than half the local authorities polled (55%) have, according to their reports, a local housing company -- which is also an increase from 42% in 2019. The report highlights that there is evidence of a variety of other types of activity including for some, a lifting of the HRA debt cap leading to increased delivery for some local authorities.

Top motivators for local authorities according to the survey have been meeting housing requirements, tackling homelessness and improving design quality. The leading barriers to those engaging were found to be 'lack of land', followed by 'lack of suitable sites' and 'viability concerns'.

Looking at those who are not engaging with the provision of housing, 'lack of funding',a  'lack of land', 'lack of expertise' and not being a stock owning authority were cited by respondents as perceived barriers.

According to the survey, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in more delivery of housing, which says the report is confirmed by the increased level of local authority expenditure for 2021. The research also found that councils are now regarding the provision of affordable housing as a corporate priority, while they are also increasing their levels of housing delivery in all ways ranging from development, acquisition, regeneration and joint working.

The research involved a desk survey as well as a direct survey, completed by 282 officers working in 194 local authorities across England (the direct survey was sent to all 343 authorities), as well as 12 roundtable discussions across all regions - and nine case studies.


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