Another Budget, another pledge of new house building: it appears from statements made over the weekend by Chancellor Phillip Hammond that Wednesday’s Budget will promise 300,000 new homes a year will be constructed.
Hammond told The Sunday Times that the government would be staging “an intervention” because the new-build housing market is broken with some 270,000 unbuilt residential planning permissions in London alone.
The Chancellor told the paper he would do “whatever it takes” to ensure more new homes were built, including:
- launching an inquiry into “housebuilders’ land banking, speculators hoarding land and local authorities blocking development”. This inquiry will report in the spring of 2018;
- construct new roads to unlock land for housing;
- fund the cleaning up of polluted industrial sites to make the suitable for immediate housebuilding;
- push local councils to free unused public land for housing;
- guarantee loans by banks to small and medium-sized housebuilders.
Hammond told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “The challenge here is affordability and I think experts generally agree that to start to make inroads on the affordability problem, we have got to be sustainably delivering around 300,000 homes a year on average across the housing cycle. That’s a big step up from where we are now.
“There is no single magic bullet and it’s certainly not just about pouring money in, because if you pour money in without fixing the other elements of supply, you will simply create more house price inflation, that makes the problem worse, not better.”
He did not commit to the £50 billion reportedly being demanded by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to finance a housebuilding programme.
The Chancellor, writing or interviewed in other newspapers or on broadcast media over the weekend, also gave commitments regarding a range of other issues expected to be confirmed during Wednesday’s Budget speech.