Tories throw £5 billion schemes at housing crisis

October 3, 2016 / Isla MacFarlane
Tories throw £5 billion schemes at housing crisis

In a widely anticipated move, ministers Sajid Javid and Phillip Hammond outlined £5 billion worth of measures to boost Britain’s housebuilders.

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced the opening of a £3 billion homebuilders fund at the Conservative Party Conference.

“Ultimately, we have a responsibility to build more houses,” he said. “A responsibility, not just to our constituents, but to the next generation. It is for that reason that we are going to take unprecedented steps to open up the market. First, today we are opening a massive £3 billion Home Builders Fund.”

The package aims to support the building of more than 225,000 new homes. “It will help us get more SMEs building, encourage custom-builders, and allow developers to build the infrastructure needed to support new housing,” Javid said.

In addition, the government will pilot a new initiative which will take public land and partner with contractors and investors to speed up housebuilding. It will also create new supply chains using offsite construction.

“These measures will allow us to get started on 15,000 homes by 2020,” Javid said. “We will get more homes built, more quickly.”

Javid also announced a third initiative, which will bring forward a package of measures to encourage urban regeneration and to build on brownfield land. “We want to radically increase brownfield development and bring life back to abandoned sites.”

Chancellor Phillip Hammond took to Twitter to announce an additional £2 billion investment. “We’ll use all the tools at our disposal to accelerate housebuilding, inc £2bn additional investment,” he tweeted.

In his speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Hammond said that the £2 billion of new investment has been earmarked to speed up construction on public land. He described the initiatives as short term measures to a long term problem.

Hammond also brought the National Infrastructure Commission back into the fray, delighting housebuilders who were miffed when it quietly vanished from the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

“Ensuring we have world class infrastructure is vital to maintaining our competitiveness…but it is a very long-term agenda,” Hammond said in his speech. “One that can be, and often has been, knocked off course by short-term political considerations. That’s why we announced the National Infrastructure Commission.”

Hammond said that the National Infrastructure Commission will independently define the nation’s long-term infrastructure needs, to ensure that every penny spent on infrastructure is properly targeted to deliver maximum benefit.

“Today I recommit to putting the Commission at the very heart of our plans to renew and expand Britain’s infrastructure,” Hammond said. “Making sure that it is long-term economics, not short-term politics, that drives Britain’s vital infrastructure investment.”

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