Following the Chancellors Spring statement yesterday (13 March), the industry shares its thoughts and opinions on the housing announcements
Philip Hammond revealed some key points within the Spring Statement, these included:
- Working with 44 areas on their bids into the £4.1bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to help build the homes that the country needs
- The Housing Growth Partnership, which provides financial support for small housebuilders, will be more than doubled to £220m
- London will receive £1.67bn to start building a further 27,000 affordable homes by the end of 2021-22.
Commenting on the announcement, Chris Fry, Director for Infrastructure & Regeneration at Ramboll, said:
“Without actually mentioning regeneration, the Chancellor’s first Spring Statement certainly prepares the ground for cities and towns to forge ahead in this area. The preliminary feedback from the ongoing housing Build Out Review hints at more diversification of scale, price and tenure as well as more dynamism to better foresee and harness the opportunities for any piece of land. There is clearly more to be worked through before policy solutions emerge for this complex topic, but these lines of enquiry should at least help to move things on from the polarised debate about profiteering through land banking.
“The Statement also confirms commitments in relation to three of the fundamental building blocks for sustainable regeneration: infrastructure connectivity (through local transport, broadband and 5G funding); skills (e.g. the 20 construction skills villages) and smarter technologies across the board to improve the outcomes associated with every pound invested. The challenge now will be for local authorities, infrastructure providers and their private sector partners to make the timing work to leverage different sources of infrastructure, skills and innovation funding.”
John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation commented:
“The BMF is pleased to see the government focus attention on tackling the issue of late payments which is a big issue for our members, particularly for smaller builders merchants. The collapse of Carillion gave a clear indication of how vulnerable suppliers can be to their customers and we support measures that minimise these risks to our members in the future. In order to keep Britain building and delivering the building blocks for growth, it is vital that merchants are paid quickly.
“The Spring Statement has also re-iterated other positive changes for the building materials supply industry including funding to stimulate housing growth, £80m funding to support apprenticeships in SME firms and an additional £50m to support T level training. Encouraging new apprentices into the sector is a key aim of the BMF and we hope that this funding will help to drive this forward.”
Director of Planning at Colliers International, Jonathan Manns, added:
“The announcement that London will receive £1.67bn to start building a further 27,000 affordable homes by the end of 2021-22 is another small step in the right direction. However, the fact that the Chancellor felt the need to stress this would include Social Rented homes again underlines the difficult balance which must be struck between the total volume of new properties built and extent to which they are genuinely affordable.”