Thursday, February 23, 2023

Local authority pension fund investment in affordable housing

This meeting of the APPG for "Local Authority Pension Funds was focused on local authority pension fund investment in social and affordable housing. To address the issue and whether there is a case for doing more, the event heard from four speakers: Cllr John Gray (Vice-Chair, Local Authority Pension Fund Forum); Paddy Dowdall (Assistant Executive Director at Greater Manchester Pension Fund); Helen Collins (Head of Affordable Housing, Savills); and John Butler (Finance Policy Lead, National Housing Federation)". Chaired bt APPG Chair, Clive Betts MP.

Check out YouTube of yesterday's panel debate/Q&A. An interesting panel and some great questions. Hopefully, my "ums" and "ers" were not too annoying (and to my continuel surprise on video my accent is still so northern/scouse after all these years down south). 

My message was that Council pensions funds can invest in so called "Affordable" Housing and get a appropriate return from sub market (60-80%)  rents which are good quality, low carbon, well managed homes but low income families in high rent areas need social rents (40-50% of private rents) or they will spend their lives on benefits and in poverty. 

To provide social rents you need subsidy. In the main, this has to come from the government of the day. You cannot expect tenants to receive inadequate housing services from their landlord in order to provide subsidy to build new homes. 

I posed the question at the end of the debate on whether housing associations, advisors and "for profit" provisors, understand that in all probability, in 18 months time or so, there will be a new government in power (not taken for granted for a moment) which may be quite different from the one in power for the previous 15 years? I think not. 

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