UK’s dysfunctional housing market to get £2.3 billion boost

UK’s dysfunctional housing market to get £2.3 billion boost

By Debbie White

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A new Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will lay the groundwork for 100,000 much-needed new homes in England, has been announced by the Government.

What’s the latest?

Billions of pounds in funding have been promised to help deliver up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand in England.

However, 'help deliver' is the key term here.

New homes require infrastructure – for example, new roads and highways, bridges, transport links, energy and water supply, and even parks and woodland.

And this is what the cash – a Housing Infrastructure Fund worth £2.3 billion – must be used for.

Local authorities will have to compete against each other, by bidding to win a slice of the pie.

Why is this happening?

Currently the brakes are being put on urban expansion because of the lack of sufficient infrastructure. This needs to change to support the building of much-needed new homes in England.

“Without the right infrastructure, no new community will thrive – and no existing community will welcome new housing if it places further strain on already-stretched local resources,” said Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid. 

"By investing in local infrastructure, we can help unlock the building of thousands of new homes in areas they are needed most."

Once councils successfully bid for grants, relevant projects will start immediately and the construction of new homes shortly afterwards, the Government has promised.

When will the money be available?

The Government's Housing Infrastructure Fund will be available from 2017/18, to 2020/21. But local authorities must apply by Thursday 28 September this year.

What do the councils say?

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), which champions councils, welcomed Government plans to invest in infrastructure linked to new housing.

But he cautioned that access to the fund should be flexible enough to allow for different types of homes to be built.

How many more homes do we need?

In their last two manifestos, the Tories pledged to build one million new homes by the end of 2020. 

However, according to statistics from the National House Building Council (NHBC), just 141,175 new homes were completed in 2016.

Back in February, the Government published its Housing White Paper, proposing numerous planning reforms, including simply 'building homes faster'.

When we published 7 key takeaways of the White Paper, one Zoopla reader commented: “Where is the real affordable housing for working class people? There needs to be many hundreds of thousands of under-£100,000 homes built that normal people can afford to buy. No one wants to be tied into the poverty caused by lifelong renting.

Another called out for more rapid investment in better broadband, so people can work more easily from their homes.

Housing charity Shelter has criticised the country’s house-building system as ‘failing’. Click here to read more. 

More parks? Expanded water supply? What extra services does YOUR neighbourhood need to support the building of more homes? Tell us by posting a comment below...