Keep a look out for an upcoming announcement on government plans to support the sector. A number of policy announcements are likely to follow the Brexit vote, possibly in early July, ahead of the summer break. As mentioned in the March Newsletter, we are hoping to hear about some major funds that will help you build more cohousing projects:
- The Rural & Coastal Community Housing Fund
…the Chancellor’s unexpected generosity of £60m to rural and coastal areas…with a third going to the specially favoured South West…turns out to be £60m a year for five years, funded from the additional Stamp Duty Land Tax on second homes. That is a very significant offer and there are ongoing discussions with government at all levels on how best to use the money on new homes during that five years, and also to leave a legacy of support infrastructure for all forms of community housing, in all parts of the country, including towns and cities, once the immediate political purposes of this programme have been achieved.
- The Home Builders Fund
…a repackaging of other existing funds aimed at custom/self builders and small and medium sized housebuilders that have had very little take up over several years. Not new money, but quite a lot of old money! The aim is for the new fund to be easier to get hold of. It’s likely to focus on providing development period finance for organisations that would otherwise find it very hard to raise bank finance. The community housing sector has been involved in ‘community proofing’ the proposals. Thanks to Susan York from Cannock Mill who has attended meetings with government on behalf of the Network.
The crowdsourced Manifesto from our November conference gave the board a very clear steer to work more closely with other parts of the community housing sector: and the arrival of the Rural and Coastal Fund has provided an excellent testing ground for us to work with the National CLT Network and the CDS Co-operatives, whose former CEO, David Rodgers was the inventor of the Mutual Home Ownership concept that LILAC has pioneered and which many of you are also hoping to adopt. More on that in future newletters.