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Javid announces £3bn fund for house building

Words: Laura Edgar
Business secretary Sajid Javid

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has announced a “£3 billion Home Builders Fund”, aimed at building more than 225,000 new homes.

It would also help to create “thousands of jobs up and down the country”.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference today (3 October), Javid said housing is the government’s priority and it would publish a housing white paper later this year.

If the government is to ensure that Britain is a country that works for everyone, which was the pledge Theresa May made when she became prime minister, Javid said building more homes is “critical”.

His predecessors, Sir Eric Pickles and Greg Clark, did a “huge amount of work” but Javid added that “there’s still a long, long way to go”.

“We want to radically increase brownfield development and bring life back to abandoned sites”

“Tackling this housing shortfall,” Javid continued, “isn’t about political expediency. It’s a moral duty. And it’s one that falls on all of us.”

The communities secretary said the government has today opened a “massive £3 billion Homes Builders Fund”.

“It will help us get more SMEs building, encourage custom-builders, and allow developers to build the infrastructure needed to support new housing.”

The fund aims help to build more than 25,000 new homes this Parliament and up to 200,000 in the longer term.

A second initiative, said Javid, is accelerated construction on public land.

“We will take government-owned land and partner with contractors and investors to speed up house building.

“We will create new supply chains using offsite construction. And we will encourage new models of building to make houses that people want, more cheaply and at pace. These measures will allow us to get started on 15,000 homes by 2020.”

Javid also announced a package of measures to encourage urban regeneration and to build on brownfield land.

“Radically” increasing the level of building on brownfield land means “high-quality housing” for families and bringing “new energy to our high streets and town centres”.

It will also see abandoned shopping centres transformed into new communities and increasing the density of housing around stations, he explained.

The communities secretary added that a housing white paper would be published later this year to include “further significant measures”, aimed at helping the government to achieve its ambition to build one million news homes by 2020.

Speaking at the conference, chancellor Philip Hammond said his priority would be spending on homes and transport rather than balancing the books, like former chancellor George Osborne.

Hammond said the annual budget deficit was still too large and would need tackling “in due course".

The government would use “all the tools at our disposal” to tackle the housing challenge, “because making housing more affordable will be a vital part of building a country that works for everyone”.

Reaction to these announcements, including from the RTPI, can be found here.

Image credit | The Conservative Party