Friday, 26 May 2017

£10 billion guarantees fund opens for business

The government is inviting expressions of interest in a £10 billion guarantee scheme to support house building, just one day after announcing the initiative.

Both the £10 billion guarantee and a £200 million pot to fund the construction of homes for private rent are open for expressions of interest from today.

Potential bids for a £300 million scheme to fund affordable housing are expected to be invited shortly.

Despite the call for interest, much of the detail of the schemes has yet to be announced.

The Communities and Local Government department said the £200 million fund would be an ‘equity loan scheme’ but details of how much would be available per property, or how the scheme would operate would not be available until later in the autumn.

A spokesperson said more detail on the £10 billion guarantee scheme would not be available until bidding opens later in the year.

Legislation has been published that would allow the government to guarantee the £10 billion of housing loans, and £40 billion of infrastructure loans announced in July. The government said it would push through the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill ‘to ensure it can take forward discussions with eligible commercial parties as soon as possible’.

The government yesterday announced a range of measures designed to increase house building.

As well as the funding pledges it promised to introduce legislation to allow section 106 schemes where the affordable housing commitments are holding up wider developments to be referred to the Planning Inspectorate, which will have the power to overrule local authority decisions.

Ministers also promised to speed up the release of public sector land for development, and extended the Firstbuy shared equity scheme for another two years by putting in £280 million.

In total the initiatives announced yesterday are expected to deliver up to 70,000 homes and 140,000 jobs.

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