The Prime Minister lays out plans to boost UK housebuilding

David Cameron

Image: Prime Minister, David Cameron

“The measures announced today show this Government is serious about rolling its sleeves up and doing it all it can to kick-start the economy. Some of the proposals are controversial; others have been a long time in coming. But along with our Housing Strategy, they provide a comprehensive plan to unleash one of the biggest homebuilding programmes this country has seen in a generation. That means more investment around the county; more jobs for our people; and more young families able to realise their dreams and get on the housing ladder.” David Cameron, Prime Minister

Today Number 10 announced a major housing and planning package that they hope will deliver:

  • Up to 70,000 new homes, including affordable housing and opportunities for first-time buyers to get onto the housing ladder
  • 140,000 jobs and a boost to the construction sector
  • A £40bn guarantee for major infrastructure projects and £10bn for new homes

The government has included a number of measures in the package that it hopes will support businesses, developers and first-time buyers, while slashing unnecessary red tape across the planning system.

The measures include:

  • Removing restrictions on house builders to help unlock 75,000 homes currently stalled due to sites being commercially unviable. Developers who can prove that council’s costly affordable housing requirements make the project unviable will see them removed.
  • New legislation for Government guarantees of up to £40 billion worth of major infrastructure projects and up to £10 billion of new homes. The Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill will include guaranteeing the debt of Housing Associations and private sector developers.
  • Up to 15,000 affordable homes and bring 5,000 empty homes back into use using new capital funding of £300m and the infrastructure guarantee
  • An additional 5,000 homes built for rent at market rates in line with proposals outlined in Sir Adrian Montague’s report to Government on boosting the private rented sector
  • Thousands of big commercial and residential applications to be directed to a major infrastructure fast track and where councils are poor developers can opt to have their decision taken by the Planning Inspectorate.
  • Calling time on poor performing town hall planning departments, putting the worst into ‘special measures’ if they have failed to improve the speed and quality of their work and allowing developers to bypass councils. More applications also will go into a fast track appeal process.
  • 16,500 first-time buyers helped with a £280m extension of the successful ‘FirstBuy’ scheme, which offers aspiring homeowners a much-needed deposit and a crucial first step on the housing ladder.
  • For a time limited period, slashing planning red tape, including sweeping away the rules and bureaucracy that prevent families and businesses from making improvements to their properties, helping tens of thousands of home owners and companies.

Opinion on the measures will most likely be mixed, the opposition has already shot down the plans by saying, “With our economy in a double-dip recession and a serious housing crisis, the Government are kidding themselves if they think these announcements are up to the scale of the challenge.”

Only time will tell if these measure will have the desired affect.

Information obtained from Number10.gov.

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