Housing White Paper to be delivered in “due course”

In the Autumn Statement delivered today, Philip Hammond announced that a housing white paper will soon be published, outlining a long-term plan for the building of new homes.

Mr Hammond stated that for many, the goal of home ownership continues to be out of reach. Delivering housing in areas where it is not affordable is not a new issue but an urgent challenge which needs to be addressed.

In order to create a housing market that will work for everyone, a housing white paper will be published in due course, Mr Hammond stated. It will look at key issues and a new £2.3 billion Home Infrastructure Fund to produce infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand.

New housing commonly faces obstacles in the form of impact on local infrastructure. Thus, spending will be focused where it can encourage new development.

Mr Hammond also confirmed funding for 40,000 homes as well as announcing a large-scale scheme to give housing association tenants the right to buy.

“To provide affordable housing that supports a wide range of need, we will invest a further £1.4bn to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes. And I will also relax restrictions on government grant to allow providers to deliver a wider range of housing types,” Mr Hammond says.

“I can also announce a large-scale regional pilot of Right to Buy for Housing Association tenants – and continued support for homeownership through the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme and the Help to Buy ISA.”

Mr Hammond also referred to announcements earlier in the year.  In October, the government stated it would  support pilot building on public sector land with funding of £2 billion, and that it will invest a further £1.7 billion to accelerate the process. This will be done by 2020-21 through the NPIF using private sector developer partnerships.

Also announced in the statement was a focus on productivity in order to raise UK living standards. A National Productivity Investment Scheme will contribute £23 billion to high value investments, and aim spending at areas considered valuable for productivity; housing, research and development, and economic infrastructure.

A proposed £7.2 billion from this scheme will be to support the building of new homes, including Housing Association spending.

Mr Hammond also highlighted the spiraling lettings fees that tenants are subject to and that agents will therefore be banned from charging such fees to tenants. The reference fees and any checks will instead be passed on to landlords. The government state that around 4.3 million homes will be benefit from the banning of the fees.

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