House building stimulus planned for September
The government is set to announce plans to boost the house building market next month after an anticipated stimulus failed to materialise in July.
Inside Housing understands ministers and officials were unable to finalise the details of the proposals in time to allow them to be released alongside an announcement on guarantees for infrastructure funding last month, and a September date is now likely.
Support for the house building sector is likely to come in the form of government-backed security rather than grant. The prime minister, David Cameron, said in May that he was keen to explore how the public sector balance sheet could be used to support housing and infrastructure.
The Financial Times has today reported the plans will allow house builders to reduce the proportion of affordable homes they provide. The paper also says the government will underwrite bonds issued by housing associations to allow them to borrow to finance developments at more competitive rates.
Yesterday communities secretary Eric Pickles announced the government is sending in a team of ‘expert brokers’ to councils where renegotiations over planning obligations have stalled housing developments.
The brokers will work with councils and developers to renegotiate section 106 agreements. These often require builders to produce affordable housing alongside private homes, but developers argue tough economic times mean terms agreed before the recession can make schemes unviable.