Osborne announces "biggest housebuilding programme since 1970s"

Source: www.house-builder.co.uk

The chancellor George Osborne has announced "the biggest housing programme since the 1970s," with the government doubling the amount it spends on affordable housing to £2 billion a year as part of its Autumn statement.

Osborne said that the government would deliver 400,000 affordable homes by the end of the decade. He announced 135,000 homes under Help to Buy shared ownership, with the chancellor saying that restrictions on shared ownership would be removed.

The government will also introduce a London Help to Buy, offering an interest-free loan worth up to 40% of the value of a new home for Londoners with a 5% deposit. A new rate of stamp duty will be imposed upon Buy-to-Let homes.

Osborne also said that further reforms would be made to the planning system and that the government would release land for 160,000 new homes. He added that the Conservatives would re-designate commercial unused land for the delivery of starter homes.

"This is the biggest housebuilding programme since the 1970s," the chancellor stated. "In our spending review we choose to build." He later added: "We are the builders."

Stewart Baseley, HBF's executive chairman, said: "The government is clearly committed to increasing both housing supply and home ownership.

"Measures introduced in recent years have led to a big increase in house building levels but the scale of the challenge requires further action to close the gap between demand and supply. The Chancellor's announcements could provide the necessary impetus."

'The industry has been gearing up to boost its capacity to a level where it can deliver the increases in housing supply that are so desperately needed.

"Over the past two years the industry has initiated a huge recruitment and training drive, taking on tens of thousands of new staff to achieve the 30% increase in output seen over that period. Today’s announcement could lead to thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships created in the sector."