Dear Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP,
I write to you on behalf of Triodos Bank UK to urge you to renew the Community Housing Fund for five years in your upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, and to urgently make provision for the Fund in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG’s) departmental budget.
For 25 years Triodos Bank has been lending, and is continuing to lend, to community housing projects that meet our objective of only lending to organisations that can demonstrate genuine positive environmental, social or cultural impact in the UK. The availability of Community Housing Fund has allowed many projects to become financially viable and fundable for the Bank. Without the fund these projects would not have proceeded.
The community-led housing sector is delivering on many of the Government’s priorities for housing and the aims of the CSR: it is ready and able to support the economic recovery and Government’s ambition for 300,000 new homes per year (including First Homes), it delivers additional supply that is not available through mainstream building, it is giving deprived communities the means to level themselves up and it delivers beautiful, innovative and environmentally friendly homes.
In addition, recent research has proven that community led housing brings measurable and long-term value to the communities and regions in which it takes root. The new study commissioned by the National Community Land Trust Network and carried out by Capital Economics found that community led housing represents high value for money.
The Government’s Community Housing Fund has been a significant success and has built up a pipeline of supply. There are 10,780 homes in live applications on Homes England’s system, 859 communities bringing forward projects and the potential pipeline has grown from just under 6,000 homes in 2017 to over 23,000 homes today. Following its closure in March 2020 those homes are now in jeopardy.
We would urge you to deliver on the Conservative manifesto commitment to community led housing by renewing the Community Housing Fund for five more years and investing £180m in revenue and capital.
The case for supporting the sector is set out in the enclosed CSR submission from the National Community Land Trust Network.
Thank you for taking into consideration this important sector in your plans for the future of this country.
Acting Head of Business Banking, Triodos Bank UK Ltd