The move takes the government’s social housing budget to £9bn and councils will be encouraged to bid for the cash.
The Conservative manifesto in June laid out plans to provide low-cost capital for councils to build fixed-term social housing that would be sold privately after 10-15 years with an automatic right to buy for tenants.
Lewis Johnston, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) parliamentary affairs manager, said: “In 1968, councils accounted for 40% of all housebuilding and today’s plan is an acknowledgement that councils are an important part of the solution to the supply crisis, although it will be interesting to see how this announcement works with the recent expansion of right to buy.”
The RICS manifesto advocated giving councils the freedom to borrow against their asset base to build homes or support other providers, working alone or in a public-private initiative, but added it’s a vital step towards fulfilling the ambitions of the Housing White Paper to deliver 250,000 homes a year.
Johnston said that bold reform of the planning system is needed alongside the use of modern methods of construction.
Garden towns development
In a move the government says will speed up the development of 155,000 new homes in garden towns, it has produced £2.5m to add more ‘dedicated resource and expertise’ for local authorities.
Communities secretary Sajid Javid announced the move yesterday and is targeting nine locally-led developments, from Bicester to Taunton. Garden towns are developments of over 10,000 homes, or villages for numbers over 1,500, and the government is encouraging ambitious plans including 2,000 plots for self-build at the Graven Hill site in Bicester Garden Town.
The funding will support the development of nine new locally-led garden towns at Bicester, Didcot, Basingstoke, Otterpool Park in Kent, Aylesbury, Taunton, Harlow-Gilston, North Northamptonshire and North Essex.
Across England, government is supporting the locally-led development of 10 garden towns and cities, as well as 14 garden villages – with the combined potential to deliver 220,000 new homes across England.
He made the statement at the Tory party conference as he promised to increase the number of nurses by 25%.