Tories make housebuilding pledges

Communities secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Phillip Hammond vowed to boost Britain’s housebuilding activity at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham today.

Javid unveiled a £3bn Home Building Fund to finance the construction of 25,000 homes by 2020. Of the overall sum, £1bn will be directed towards small builders while the remaining £2bn will be set for infrastructure and long-term funding.

The communities secretary announced the Government will allocate brownfield land for housing in order to speed up construction. He insisted this would cost £2bn in borrowing and see up to 15,000 homes being built on public land.

In addition, the Cabinet is set to make changes in the planning regulations to create a “de facto” presumption in favour of housing on disused public land.

During his speech, Hammond also turned to housing, remarking “Quite simply, we’re not building enough new homes”.

He said:

“If we are going to see economic growth distributed more evenly across the regions and sectors of our economy and more fairly between the generations, there’s another big challenge that needs to be tackled: The unaffordability of housing.

“Quite simply, we’re not building enough new homes. This is a long-term challenge. But there are short-term measures we can take.

“And the package of measures announced by Sajid Javid earlier – the £3 billion Home Builders’ Fund – £2 billion of new investment for accelerated construction on public land is a clear demonstration of this Government’s determination to tackle this challenge using all the tools at our disposal.”

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Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation:

“Even after the huge increases in housing supply over the past few years we are some way short of building the number of homes the country needs. House builders are still stifled by planning delays that prevent them getting on sites and delivering homes more quickly. Efforts to address this and remove some of the many barriers that new entrants face when trying make it into the industry and build new homes will undoubtedly help to boost housing output.

“Most of the big increases in supply in recent years have been driven by the largest house builders who have significantly boosted investment in land and skills. If we are to get to the level of supply required we need to see more players on the pitch. We need to enable small builders to play more of a part as well as facilitating more of a contribution from other sources.”