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Budget 2018: Hammond adds £500m to housing infrastructure fund

Chancellor Philip Hamond has detailed the numbers his government has promised to spend in the pursuit of building more houses.

“I can announce today a further £500m for the housing infrastructure fund to unlock a further 650,000 homes,” Hammond said as he delivered the 2018 Budget.

Hammond also mentioned “the next wave of strategic partnerships with 9 housing associations,” which he claims, “will deliver 13,000 homes across England, up to £1bn of British business bank guarantees, to support the revival of SME house builders.”

Moving away from numbers, the chancellor said, “we’re consulting on simplification of the process for the conversion of commercial property into new homes, and because we want to see parishes and neighbourhoods, enabling more homes for sale, to local people to buy at prices they can afford, we’re providing funding to empower up to 500 neighbourhoods to allocate or permission land for housing through the neighbourhood planning system for sale at a discount to local people in perpetuity.

Referring to a review of build-out rates published earlier in the day of the Budget, Hammond quoted from the report’s finding that: “the large housebuilders are not engaged in systematic speculative land banking, and he makes several recommendations for reform of the planning system in respect of very large strategic housing sites, and we will respond in full to his report in the new year.”

The first part of the above statement was met with some derision, which Emoov.co.uk founder and chief executive Russell Quirk echoes: “To say that the big developers are not land banking shows a completely naive disconnect from reality. Today absence of any meaningful housing announcements is disappointing, to say the least especially when housing is the second hottest political topic in this day and age.

“We’ve been led to believe that this Government is serious about fixing Britain’s broken housing market, but so far their attempts equate to little more than plugging holes with PVC and sticky tape, rather than delivering a solution based on a watertight blueprint.”

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