Hammond pledges action on housebuilding

20 Nov 17

The chancellor will use this week’s Autumn Budget to set out how the government will build 300,000 homes a year, 100,000 more than currently built each year, it emerged over the weekend.

Philip Hammond told the Sunday Times he would do “whatever it takes” to fix the broken housing system, promising to launch an inquiry into land banking and local authorities blocking development.

The chancellor also pledged to build new roads to unlock land for housing, fund cleanups of polluted industrial sites for development, getting councils to earmark small plots for SME builders and to guarantee bank loans to small housebuilders.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Hammond said there was no “single magic bullet” to increase housing supply, adding that he was against “just pouring money in”.

Hammond stated: “It is not acceptable to us [government] that so many fewer young Britons are able to own a home now than just 10 or 15 years ago. It is not acceptable to us that there are not enough properties to rent and that rents are sky high, and the answer is that we have to build more homes.”

He said that the government was delivering “record” number of planning permissions and homes each year. Last week’s figures show around 217,000 homes were built or converted last year.

“To start to make inroads into the sustainability problem we have got to be sustainably delivering around 300,000 homes a year on average across the housing cycle that is a big step up from where we are now, there is no single magic bullet and it is certainly not about just pouring money in,” he said.

John Healey, Labour’s shadow secretary for housing, said the chancellor’s pledges would “fall far short” of what is needed.

Healey added: “The hard truth is that housebuilding is still below the level it was before the global financial crisis and affordable housebuilding has fallen off a cliff, with the lowest number of new social rented homes built last year since records began.” 

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