£1.9 billion announced to tackle housing shortage

The government has announced two new streams of investment to tackle the current housing crisis and ensure homes are built in areas where they are needed most.

The packet of measures includes a £1.3bn Land Assembly Fund. This money will be used to acquire land which requires work and get it ready for the market. Ultimately, making it less risky for developers to invest in and start building. This work will be carried out by Homes England outside of London.

In addition, a £630 million Small Sites Fund will provide grants to help speed up getting the right infrastructure in place to support home building on stalled small sites. This fund is designed to help public landowners and local authorities and aims to provide the homes their communities need.

Taken together, these initiatives are worth almost £2 billion. It is hoped that the funds will deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.

The money will be deployed alongside expertise from Homes England and is intended to resolve issues such as land contamination, infrastructure requirements, and complex land ownership.

Commenting on the announcement, Brokenshire said: “We need to act on a number of fronts to build the homes this country needs.

“The availability of this investment will help us intervene in the sort of sites that aren’t yet ready to build on, or where developers have been put off.

“Developers can now get straight on with building homes, rather than overcoming the barriers to build. And in the same way we are also supporting councils that have land for housing, but need additional help to enable development.”

Homes England Chairman, Sir Edward Lister, said: “Homes England is stepping in where the market isn’t working, unlocking land and releasing sites to those developers that are committed to providing homes at pace.

“The £1.9bn announced by the government today will mean we can invest in crucial infrastructure and help local authorities to get more homes built on public land.”

Addressing housing leaders at the National Housing Summit, PM Theresa May said of the Land Assembly and Small Sites funds: “They allow us to make positive interventions in the land market, bring more sites to market, and capture more of the land value for the benefit of local communities.”

However, she also recognised that: “while the steps we are taking are already making a real and lasting difference to millions of lives, we should not pretend that our broken housing system can be fixed at the flick of a switch.”

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