|Autumn Statement 2015|
In his Autumn Statement delivered on the afternoon of Wednesday 25 November, the Chancellor announced the introduction of a number of key initiatives which will contribute to boosting levels of home ownership and housing delivery in England.
Following the Chancellor's promise to "get Britain building" at this year’s Conservative Party Conference, plans were unveiled to build 400,000 new affordable homes across England, representing what the Government recognised as ‘the biggest housebuilding programme since the 1970s.' This commitment provides further strength to the proposals contained in the Housing and Planning Bill published in October, which outlines that the Government intends to create a legal obligation on Councils to provide 200,000 new starter homes.
It is proposed that 50% of these new affordable homes will be ‘starter homes’, the concept of which is now gaining real political traction. Starter homes are defined as new build homes available at 20% of the open market price only to first time buyers under 40. As part of plans to double the housing budget, the Chancellor announced that £2.3 billion will be given to house builders to deliver starter homes for first time buyers. House builders, developers and planners will be very interested to understand the full detail of the starter homes initiative, which has yet to be published.
Plans to release public land to deliver 160,000 homes and the regeneration of estates shows the further commitment of the Government to increase the delivery of housing on previously developed brownfield sites, an initiative which was also pioneered by the Housing and Planning Bill with the aim of easing the pressure on Local Authorities to release additional Greenfield and Green Belt sites for housing.
Proposals to remove the current restrictions on who can buy a home through shared ownership are also welcome and will contribute to improving levels of home ownership. Help to Buy Shared Oownership will allow anyone who has a household income of less than £80,000 outside London and £90,000 inside London to buy a home through shared ownership.
The announcement of a £300m investment in two big rail schemes, including a new line between Leeds and Manchester which is to be dubbed ‘HS3’ is further excellent news for the North West region, as it is clear that considerable investment needs to made in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ in order to keep up with the region’s growing economy. Statistics released on 25 November show that in the last 12 months, the north has grown at a faster rate than the south and there are now more people working in the Northern Powerhouse than ever before. As a result, Greater Manchester’s transport infrastructure is now beginning to fray at the seams as the city region continues to show impressive economic growth and that continued investment into future infrastructure projects is essential.
The initiatives proposed by the Chancellor are positive, will boost home ownership and will assist with the delivery of housing, in particular affordable housing through starter homes and Help to Buy Shared Ownership.
The delivery of efficient transport networks is critical in supporting the continued trend for economic growth across the country. The delivery of HS3 will create stronger links between Manchester and Leeds and will provide new infrastructure and investment opportunities which will continue to grow the Northern Powerhouse.
If you have any queries or require further information, please get in touch.
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