Barker Review out of reach

The aims set out in the Barker Review for affordable houses will not be met, industry experts have claimed.

Speaking at the Council of Mortgage Lenders conference today, Jim Coulter, chief executive of the National Housing Federation says that Barkers numbers are not going to be fulfilled.

Kate Barker estimated earlier in the year that 23,000 extra affordable homes per year were needed.

Sheila Drew Smith from the Housing Corporation says the Barker review can be used as a clear direction of travel, but they are too challenging, as numbers are not going to increase so much as to reach expectations.

Charles Toner, chairman at Barratts, says: “50% more homes are needed in the private sector per annum, and 100% new houses are needed in the affordable housing sector.”

However, he points out certain constraints on this, such as a planning system and skilled labour shortage.

He adds: “Since July 2002, 50 application recommendations by planning officers for over 5,200 new homes have either been seriously delayed or refused at the committee.”

He says supply and demand need to be in order before affordability can happen.

Smith adds: “The private finance requirement between 2004 and 2007 is 8.76bn, 3.3bn for mixed funded programmes and 5.4bn to fund stock transfers.”

She says these figures will change, but the trend is clearly upward, and new partnerships need to be created in affordable housing.