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Treasury to relax planning rules and set aside £2bn to boost housebuilding

  • 03/10/2016
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The Treasury will launch a fresh attempt to tackle Britain’s housing crisis today, with the Chancellor expected to announce a package of measures including extra funding and changes to planning rules.

According a to a report by the Financial Times, communities secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Philip Hammond will reveal plans to set aside £2bn for housebuilding and roll out a £3bn fund to provide loans to small housebuilders, which was originally announced by former chancellor George Osborne during his March Budget.

The £2bn fund will seek to speed up housebuilding by using public land, relax planning rules and encourage alternative forms of development like custom-build and off-site construction.

New planning rules will make it easier to build on brownfield sites by giving automatic permission in principle for suitable sites, while enabling developers to swap old office buildings with new residential construction.

Speaking ahead of his speech at the Conservative Party Conference today, Javid confirmed Theresa May’s government would shift its policy focus away from homeownership and toward a housebuilding target that suited various types of tenures, including privately rented homes.

Hammond also plans to scrap Osborne’s 2020 fiscal surplus target in the Autumn Statement next month, replacing it with new spending on housing and infrastructure alongside revised fiscal targets.

Despite increasing housebuilding since launching its ambitions to get all Brits on the housing ladder, David Cameron’s government failed to meet its annual building target of 275,000 in 2015.

In his speech today, Hammond is expected to say the government will use “all tools at our disposal” to tackle Britain’s shortage of housing.

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