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Social Housing Speed Read – Social Housing Announcements in the Autumn Statement 2023

On 22 November 2023, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt presented his Autumn Statement to Parliament. Below is a summary of several announcements that were given which will impact the social housing sector.

Restoration of Local Housing Allowance Rates

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates are used to calculate Housing Benefit for tenants renting from private landlords. For years, LHAs have been frozen meaning many tenants’ have a shortfall between their rents and their LHA.

It was announced in the Autumn Statement that the LHA will be uplifted to the 30th percentile of local market rents in April 2024. This will assist the security of housing and will work to reduce homelessness, saving councils millions of pounds a year on temporary accommodation costs.

Planning Reforms

The chancellor has allocated £32m to address the planning backlogs at local planning authorities and accelerate new housing projects. It is said that councils will be able to give “guaranteed accelerated decision dates” for major developments in England for a fee which will be refunded if this deadline is not met.

Social housing landlords can expect a quicker planning process for new developments which may expedite the delivery of such projects and help to battle the social housing deficit.

Nutrient Neutrality

The rules surrounding nutrient neutrality have become a critical barrier to housing development, blocking the progress of over 100,000 homes. In response, the chancellor has pledged to invest over £110m over the next two years on nutrient-mitigation schemes. These funds are to help councils that are affected by the rules, and it is estimated that 40,000 homes will be delivered in the next 5 years.

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Increased Funding

An additional £3b of funding has been announced for housing associations under the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme (AHGS), which will help the scheme deliver 20,000 new homes as well as improving the quality and efficiency of thousands. This should allow social housing providers to expand their portfolio of affordable housing.

It was also announced that an additional £450m of funding will be allocated to the Local Authority Housing Fund to deliver 2,400 new housing units. This will be used to house Afghan refugees, and will generally ease the wider housing and homelessness pressures. Social housing landlords may benefit from this, despite not being directly impacted, as the demand for emergency housing solutions will likely reduce.

The government also revealed a £5m extension of the Public Works Loan Board policy margin to June 2025 to support local authority investment in social housing. More favourable borrowing terms will likely be offered as a result which would provide substantial savings. Housing providers should consider their investment plans for housebuilding projects to help take advantage of the additional support available.


The announcements within the Autumn Statement are a positive step for local authorities and social housing providers. Social housing providers should consider how they can best utilise any increased funding to help speed up developments and to better meet the needs of both their tenants and communities.

If you have any questions about these prospective changes, or if you would like advice on how to best prepare your business, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our expert Social Housing Team.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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