The Homes and Communities Agency published figures earlier this week that have been seized upon by the media suggesting failings in how many units are being built.
The shadow housing secretary Jack Dromey spotted the 97% drop in HCA funded affordable homes, from 13,402 to just 454, and the national media has repeated the statistic in various places:
The reality is happily rather less apocalyptic, and Mr Dromey should perhaps be reprimanded for using statistics like a drunk uses a lampost – for support rather than illumination.
A quick call to the helpful people at the HCA reveals the massive discrepancy in figures is a result of a change in the way the funding’s distributed. This year the majority of the units being built will be funded by slightly different means, meaning most of the units simply haven’t been counted rather than are not being built.
London Residential Research statistics (based on members of the team travelling round London and looking at the sites to see if construction has begun) suggest that something in the region of 4,500 units have been started in London alone for the time period in question – this is what prompted the call to the HCA.
Obviously we’re still in the grip of a not insignificant housing crisis, but happily it’s not going to be 100 times worse at the end of the year as some would have you believe.