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Cash boost to help housing delivery on public sector land

Words: Laura Edgar
Affordable housing / Shutterstock_519502300

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has announced that £450 million of government money will go towards speeding up the delivery of homes on surplus public sector land.

The money will also help to encourage the use of modern methods of construction as part of the building process.

Brokenshire said: “The prize in our sights is a much more diverse market where modern methods of construction are in the mainstream – and Britain is a leader in the field.”

The measure is one of a number set out by Brokenshire during a speech to the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange as the government looks to deliver a fairer and more transparent system for homebuyers, and the homes to meet demand.

He set out proposals for three-year minimum tenancy terms, with a six-month breakout clause to make renting more secure for tenants and to give landlords more financial security.

Government data suggests that people stay in their rented homes for an average of nearly four years, but that 81 per cent of rental contracts are assured shorthold tenancies with a minimum fixed term of just six or 12 months. A consultation on the proposals will consider whethet there should be any exemption, such as student accommodation.

Additionally, a £100 million Community Housing Fund was launched. This is aimed at delivering affordable housing “tailored” to local needs, “putting communities in the driving seat,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Brokenshire said: “We need to get everyone on board to build at scale and pace to build the homes this country needs.

“But this isn’t just about getting the numbers up. We don’t have to make a false choice between quality and quantity.

“It’s also about building places that people are happy to call home. Places where they can come together in strong, thriving communities for generations to come.”


Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “This is an important step forward. Losing a tenancy is the main driver of homelessness and also causes huge instability for renting families so everyone who rents will be very pleased to see a move towards longer tenancies. But if the government really wants to stand up and provide stability for renters, they can and should go beyond three years to provide real protection from eviction, and the huge upheaval of having to move home, jobs and schools.”

Johnny Caddick, managing director at Moda, said: “For Build to Rent firms like Moda, it makes sense that residents are given security of tenure. So we fully support these moves provided people have flexibility if they only wish to stay for a year or two. We need a customer-centric rental market if people are to grow confidence in the property sector. That has to mean encouraging more rental development through the planning system that is willing to provide better homes with no risk of eviction because the landlord wishes to sell or move back in.”

The consultation on the extended tenancy plans can be found on the UK Government website. 

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