Rishi Sunak has announced £7.1bn in funding to go toward a new National Home Building Fund.
Speaking in the House of Commons for today’s spending review, the Chancellor said the fund would add to the £12bn Affordable Homes Programme and will help create a “once in a generation” investment in infrastructure.
Aside from the centrepiece National Home Building Fund, Sunak pledged an extra £100m to the Brownfield Fund, which he said will support housing delivery and regeneration.
The Chancellor also pledged an extra £254m to help alleviate homelessness – over £100m more than what was touted earlier in the week.
Further, the Chancellor announced £1.1bn toward helping UK homes become net-zero carbon – as set out in the Green Industrial Revolution, which was announced by the Prime Minister earlier in November.
On welfare, Rishi Sunak confirmed a £20 Universal Credit uplift that will remain in place till April 2021.
An increase in Local Housing Allowance was also announced.
Overall, the Chancellor said the government would spend £280bn this year “to get our country through Coronavirus” – as the unemployment level in the UK is predicted to rise to 2.6m.
Commenting on the Chancellor’s housing announcements, Nicholas Harris, chief executive of housing provider Stonewater, said: “This one-year Spending Review for 2021/22 was always going to focus on managing the response to and emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although more tough spending decisions undoubtedly lie ahead, we urge the Chancellor to continue his focus on ‘building back better’ and the key role affordable housebuilding can play in helping families recover, while creating jobs and levelling-up across all of the economy.”
On the need to continue to focus on routes to affordable home ownership, Harris said: “At Stonewater, we are committed to creating pathways into sustainable home ownership.
“We strongly welcome the confirmation of the £12.2bn Affordable Homes Programme funding for 2021-26 and the £7.1bn National Home Building Fund that will be focused mainly on crucial infrastructure.
“This longer-term certainty allows us to increase our house building pipeline, delivering thousands of homes that provide the right support at the right time.
“These span social rent right through to shared ownership as we help people through the pandemic and tackle the housing crisis.”
On the planning needed to meet the government’s net zero-carbon target by 2050, Harris said: “The £12bn in 2021/22 confirmed in the spending review and last week’s £1bn investment to fund a ‘green industrial revolution’ are music to our ears.
“This helps give us the confidence we need to plan to deliver net zero-carbon by 2050.
“We know it will not be easy, but work we commissioned from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the summer ‘Housing for the future’ showed how it can be done on retrofitting and new-build using existing technologies.
“At our pilot project at Blackbird Leys in Oxford, 60 affordable homes are being retrofitted with ground- source heat pumps as part of the Energy Superhub Oxford.
“This will cut thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide and save our residents money, helping tackle fuel poverty.
“This is only the start, but it shows what we as a housing provider can achieve – and we plan to do much more to address the climate emergency.”
Image credit: T Salci/Shutterstock
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