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Budget 2016: Housing

Words: Laura Edgar
New houses / iStock

Chancellor George Osborne’s spring Budget 2016 has confirmed the creation of a fund to help release brownfield land for the delivery of starter homes as well as announcing government support for those that want to create garden villages.

Starter homes and affordable housing


The Budget launched the Starter Homes Land Fund prospectus. This allows local authorities access to £1.2 billion of funding to remediate brownfield land to be used for housing. It aims to deliver 30,000 starter homes.

By bringing forward £250 million of capital spending to 2017-18 and 2018-19, the government aims to deliver 13,000 affordable homes two years early.

These two measures, according to the Budget 2016 document, are designed to meet the commitment the government made in November’s Autumn Statement to deliver 400,000 affordable homes by 2020-21 – including 200,000 starter homes.

Unlocking more land for housing


In November, the government committed itself to releasing enough public sector land for 160,000 homes. This Budget, said the government, sets out its intent to release more.

Local authorities would collaborate with central government on local government “land ambition”, and work with their partners to release land with the capacity for at least 160,000 homes, “helping the government to support the government’s policy on estates regeneration.

Additionally, the Budget 2016 document states that the Homes and Communities Agency would work in partnership with Network Rail and local authorities to provide land around stations for housing, commercial development and regeneration.

The government said it would set out the sites to take part in the scheme “shortly”.

Garden cities, towns and villages


Reaffirming government support for garden cities and towns, the Budget states that the government would legislate to “make it easier” for local authorities to work together to create garden towns. The government is also to consult on a “second wave” of Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) reforms to make the process “clearer, fairer and quicker”.

The Budget sets out the government’s pledge to provide technical and financial support to areas that want to establish garden villages and market towns of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes.

It will announce soon what planning and financial flexibilities will be offered to local authorities that submit such proposals.

Supporting the homeless


The Budget 2016 sets out several measures to support homeless people, including:

  • £100 million investment to deliver “second stage” accommodation for people sleeping rough who are leaving hostels and domestic abuse victims and their families moving on from refuge centres. This is expected to provide at least 2,000 places.

  • On 1 March this year, the government confirmed that the date Local Housing Allowance caps will apply to new tenancies in the supported accommodation sector will be delayed by one year. It will now apply to tenancies in this sector signed after 1 April 2017.

Lifetime ISA


Osborne announced that from April 2017, adults under the age of 40 will be able to open a new Lifetime ISA.

People will be able to save up £4,000 each year, with savers receiving a 25 per cent bonus from the government on this money.

Money, he said, could be put into this account until users are over 60 to be used as retirement income, or help to buy a first home.

More detail about the housing measures can be found here.

Reaction to the housing measures can be found here.

Image credit | iStock