Council directors have questioned the adequacy of the Government's cash boost for housebuilding and supporting infrastructure, suggesting it will do little to tackle underlying issues.
On Monday (3 October) chancellor Philip Hammond and communities secretary Sajid Javid launched a £3bn Home Building Fund, which they said would provide £1bn of short-term loan funding and £2bn long-term funding for infrastructure.
A further £2bn in new public sector net borrowing will go towards an ‘Accelerated Construction’ scheme, through which the Government will take ‘direct action’ to encourage building on surplus public land.
ADEPT president Rupert Clubb
The Department for Communities and Local Government said the £1bn short-term funding would deliver more than 25,000 new homes this Parliament, while the £2bn funding for infrastructure would be used to unlock a pipeline of up to 200,000 homes, with an emphasis on brownfield development.
Rupert Clubb, president of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), said: ‘Given that £1.2bn of this was announced last November, an extra £2bn is simply not enough to deliver the housebuilding programme we need.
‘It’s not just a question of housing, vital though that is. We need to build genuinely sustainable communities that our creaking infrastructure is struggling to support. We need public transport, access to employment and investment in skills.
‘We want to support growth, but not at any cost. Public investment must benefit communities and while we welcome extra funding to support housebuilding, building real communities requires substantial commitment and funding.’
The new fund is managed on behalf of the government by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the national housing, land and regeneration agency in England.
HCA chief executive Mark Hodgkinson said: ‘We’re determined to speed up delivery and promote new approaches to housebuilding. The new Home Building Fund offers the industry flexible development and infrastructure finance and we’re open for business right away.
‘From today, builders and investors just need to give us a call to start discussing funding for new homes. Our dedicated team will also provide expert ongoing support to new entrants to the sector and those companies proposing innovative solutions to speed up house building.’