In his 2018 Autumn Budget statement to Parliament, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced a series of proposals aimed to tackle the shortage of housing.
Top of the list was an extra £500 million for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, a government capital grant programme which encourages housing development in areas of high demand.
Mr Hammond promised the money would help build 650,000 more homes through allow local authorities to make additional grant funding available for new infrastructure. The cap on councils’ ability to borrow money to build council homes will also be scrapped.
Hammond went on to announce the government’s strategic partnerships with nine housing associations, which he said would deliver 13,000 homes across England.
Funding will also be made available for up to 500 neighbourhoods to allocate land for housing to local people at a discount.
In an effort to incentivise more small and medium-sized house builders into the market, Mr Hammond announced up to £1 billion of British business bank guarantees.
The government will also make it easier for empty commercial properties to become homes, in a move aimed to reinvigorate the country’s beleaguered high streets which could provide between 300,000 to 400,00 homes.
However this proposal was met with derision from certain factions, including from Labour MP Helen Hayes who argued that “relaxation of planning regulations so far is creating some of most appalling housing in the country”.
Hammond was has been keenly aware of the need for more house building, acknowledging that the government “can’t resolve the productivity challenge or deliver the high standards of living the British people deserve without fixing our housing market”.
The news of more funding being made available for house building will be welcomed by many, especially after earlier analysis this year which revealed that house building across half of England was slower than it was before the 2008 financial crash.