Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced £225m of funding to support building of 48,600 high quality homes.
“It’s time to think big,” Clegg told the National House-building Council, after revealing the new government funding to kickstart housing projects and leverage private investment.
He affirmed support for locally planned, large-scale property developments, and the themes of garden cities as crucial in tackling the housing crisis, working with a number of stalled projects to boost growth.
“These sites have been held up for various reasons - cash-flow problems following the banking crash, bureaucracy and licensing issues, a lack of upfront investment for infrastructure - some for up to ten years,” said Clegg.
“So we will unlock the barriers to investment. We will make sure that bureaucracy does not hold back these developments: bringing partners together to get action on the ground.”
The government is working on a prospectus setting out further details on this plan, outlining what is expects from local authorities and developers, and what it will offer in return.
“We need to address our housing crisis now and the government is right to focus on existing stalled schemes which can be brought on stream in the shorter term, where the £225m of new government funding to help de-risk projects is a welcome contribution,” said Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, who welcomed the Deputy prime Minister’s acknowledgment that government needs a long term vision and a long term strategy.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing, also welcomed the programme but said: “Such an ambitious programme shouldn’t come at the expense of other shorter-term measures which could deliver growth quicker, for example giving small parcels of public sector land over to developers to be built on. Housing associations, working with central and local government, are well-placed to make this housing ambition a reality.”
John Cridland, CBI director general, said: "Building houses is one of the quickest ways to boost jobs and growth, and by focusing on stalled sites, the Government is rightly reaching for quick wins.
"The £225m being made available to leverage private investment should inject confidence into the sector by offering some welcome respite for house-builders struggling to fund major developments.
However he added that house builders need the government to deliver on its promises by urgently clarifying how the funding will work alongside the £10bn of government guarantees, and by championing NewBuy to boost demand.”
“There is still an urgent need for new homes, with little increase in the number of homes being built this year,” said Mike Quinton, chief executive at NHBC.
“The government has in the last year announced a variety of measures to stimulate the market. Some of these – including the NewBuy scheme, the FirstBuy extension and Funding for Lending – do anecdotally seem to be having a positive effect. It is now vital that this level of dedicated support from Government is sustained and we therefore hope that a long term commitment to housing is reflected in next month’s Autumn Statement and beyond.”