£5bn government funding will speed up home building

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The government has announced funding totalling £5bn, which will be used to speed up the construction of tens of thousands of new homes…

During the Conservative conference in Birmingham, a series of new schemes were announced by the government, aimed at increasing the number of new build homes.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid and Chancellor Philip Hammond set out plans for the Home Building Fund and the Accelerated Construction Scheme during the conference.

The Home Building Fund will use £3bn of previously announced funding to provide loans that will stimulate building projects. Of this funding, £1bn will be used in the form of short term loans for small builders, custom builders, and innovative developers. This will help with the delivery of 25,500 homes by 2020. A further £2bn of funding for long term infrastructure projects will unlock up to 200,000 homes.

The Accelerated Construction scheme will use £2bn to ensure public land with outline planning permission is available to builders. This will include small new companies that are able to build at twice the rate of more established firms. Furthermore, remediation work on brownfield sites will be funded by the state.

Ministers also revealed a plan for urban regeneration. This will “radically” increase development on disused sites in urban areas. Additionally, building homes on brownfield land will become easier as planning policy will adopt a “de facto” presumption in favour of building on these sites. This, ministers said, could potentially deliver an additional 25,000 homes by 2021.

Unused office buildings will also help with the housing shortage. Previous schemes allowed these buildings to be turned into new homes. Now, the scheme will be extended to allow for the demolition of office blocks to make way for new homes. This will provide around 4,000 new properties by the end of 2021.

“Planning in principle” will be granted by local planning authorities for sites suitable for housing developments and will be identified in new brownfield registers.

Javid said: “This Conservative Government is getting on with the job of building a country that works for everyone. We’ve made great progress fixing the broken housing market we inherited from Labour, but now is the time to go further.

“We want to ensure everyone has a safe and secure place to live and that means we’ve got to build more homes.

“It is only by building more houses that we will alleviate the financial burden on those who are struggling to manage.”

Hammond said: “There has been a housing shortage in this country for decades, and this Government is determined to take action to tackle it.

“We’ll use all the tools at our disposal to accelerate housebuilding and ensure that, over time, housing becomes more affordable. That is why we are committing £2 billion of additional investment towards this.”

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