Government implements new housing policy for councils and self-builders

housing measuresThe government has announced a series of measures designed to increase activity across the house-building market, including the implementation of a Housing Finance Institute.

The formation of the new body, which follows a review of the role of local authorities in housing supply, will address the skills and knowledge gap associated with the delivery of local homes. It is intended to enable the provision of dedicated support in areas, such as setting up and managing public private sector joint ventures or developing capacity and skills in areas such as land assembly or developing investment vehicles.

Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, said:

“This review clearly demonstrated that while local authorities play a key role in meeting housing needs across England, they need more support to help solve the country’s current housing crisis. That’s why I can announce that we’re working with Natalie Elphicke (chairman of Million Homes, Million Lives) and Keith House (leader of Eastleigh Borough Council) to provide dedicated support to councils to unlock more housing.

“This new institute will help local authorities to make a big contribution to ensuring the UK builds new homes in the numbers our people need.”

Councillor Keith House said:

“I’m delighted that the government is following through on one of our key recommendations and establishing a Housing Finance Institute.

“By working together, central and local government, with the construction and finance industries, can make a real difference in boosting housing supply to solve the nation’s current housing crisis.”

The government has yet to provide details of the scope, duration and governance of the Institute.

To boost the custom build market, the government has also unveiled a new multi-million pound fund to help get more projects off the ground.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis announced on March 12 that the next phase of a œ150 million fund is now open to bidders. It will create up to 10,000 so-called ?serviced plots’ – land prepared for house-building and connected to utilities such as gas and water – allowing builders to begin construction immediately. It is thought this may cut down the time taken on self-build projects by up to a year.

The œ150 million fund is open to small builders and community groups as short-term loans to help get the land ready for house-building. The land can then be sold as individual plots to people looking to build their own home.

According to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the custom and self-build industry currently accounts for around 10,000 new homes every year.

Mr. Lewis said:

“Custom build should not be something that’s confined to a small and select group of people – anyone who aspires to build their own home should have the opportunity to do so.

“We want to see the industry grow significantly and this œ150 million fund will help further unlock the massive potential it has to help even more people achieve their ambitions.”

In addition, the Government’s Self-build and Custom House-building Bill will place a duty on councils to maintain a register of people who are looking to buy serviced plot land for the purposes of self-build projects. This demand will then have to be taken into account when councils plan their housing st

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