Delivering Jobs and Growth

Press

Government launches another plan to boost affordable housing

02/12/2014
Government launches another plan to boost affordable housing
The Government has today set out new measures to bring fresh impetus to affordable house building.

Its latest push on housing ahead of the election came alongside publication of the fifth National Infrastructure plan this morning and includes plans for a new garden town in Bicester.

The new packages of measures will include support for construction of up to 13,000 homes in the second of its three planned garden towns.

Earlier this year it announced plans to pump £200m into construction of 15,000 new homes on a brownfield site at Ebbsfleet in Kent.

The Treasury also today pledged to extend the capital settlement for affordable housing by £957m in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to ensure that 275,000 new affordable homes can be delivered over the next Parliament.

It is also committing to release public sector land for up to 150,000 homes over the next Parliament.

One of the key proposals is for the government to masterplan, directly commission, build and even sell homes.

A pilot programme on a government-owned former RAF base in Northstowe, near Cambridge, will see the Homes and Communities Agency leading development of 10,000 homes, twice as fast as conventional approaches.

This is the first time in a generation that the government has owned land, led a development on it at this scale, and considered commissioning homes directly for sale.

It hopes this approach wills fast-track the development by providing certainty making new homes available more quickly.

Commenting on this announcement Mike Leonard CEO of the Modern Masonry Alliance said: ”Whilst we support the need to increase the provision of social housing this is a grave miss-use of public money to subsidise alternative methods of construction. It will seriously harm the apertite of major companies to inward invest in our traditional industries such as brick and block manufacture and will damage the work prospects for the thousands of young people who we need to train for vocational employment in the future.

“This is not the way to build a sustainable economy or to use our limited public funds. We are calling for an urgent review of this misguided proposal.”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: “New houses support economic growth and are a crucial element of a fair society, so I’ve prioritised the investment of almost £2bn to ensure we can build on average 55,000 new homes a year until 2020.

“Combined with the other measures we are announcing today, we will vastly increase supply by providing funding certainty, unlocking capacity in housing associations and kick starting stalled regeneration projects.

The Treasury has also agreed to consult on ways to increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations in relation to the valuation of properties transferred from local authorities.

Funding approval was also granted from the £150m estate regeneration programme for four major London schemes to help hit affordable housing targets in the Capital.

Subject to due diligence and contract negotiations, 8,000 homes will be built at Grahame Park, Blackwall Reach, Aylesbury Estate and New Union Wharf.