300,000 homes a year pledge from chancellor

20 November 2017

Chancellor Philip Hammond is et to announce plans for 300,000 new homes a year

The government will set out plans for building 300,000 homes a year in this Wednesday’s Budget, the chancellor of the exchequer has said.

However, Philip Hammond, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, warned that there was no “magic bullet” to increase housing supply and the government would not simply “pour money in”.

“It is not acceptable that so many fewer young Britons are able to own a home now,” Hammond said. “It is not acceptable that there are not enough properties to rent and that rents are sky high. The answer is that we have to build more homes.

“We are delivering planning permissions at record numbers, actually we are delivering homes at record levels – 217,350 last year.

Other expected Budget announcements:

  • £75m for artificial intelligence;
  • £400m for electric car charge points;
  • £160m for next-generation 5G mobile networks across the UK;
  • A retraining partnership between the TUC (Trade Union Congress), CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and the government;
  • £76m to boost digital and construction skills.

“The challenge is affordability. Experts agree that to start to make inroads on the affordability problem, we have got to be sustainably delivering 300,000 homes a year on average across the housing cycle, and that’s a big step up from where we are now.”

Hammond did not make any specific financial commitment, and did not comment on last month’s call by communities secretary Sajid Javid for £50bn to fund a house-building programme.

“There’s no magic bullet, it’s not just about the government borrowing money,” said Hammond. “If you pour money in without fixing the other elements of supply, you will just create more house price inflation, making the problem worse not better.”

The chancellor also said he will provide more help for SME builders, by getting local authorities to allocate pockets of land to small developers and guaranteeing bank loans to smaller house builders.

Further plans expected to be announced by Hammond on Wednesday include government financing for the clean up of polluted industrial sites for house building, and speeding up developments where planning permission exists, using the “powers of state” where necessary.

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