Housing minister launches scheme to boost housebuilding

Housing Minister Grant Shapps last week launched a ‘Build Now, Pay Later’ deal to get work started on thousands of new homes.

Housing minister launches scheme to boost housebuilding

The deal is aimed at boosting housebuilding, without them having to face the expense of buying the land upfront. Under Build Now, Pay Later, housebuilders pay for the land after they have started work on the new homes, offering a lifeline to those struggling with cash flow problems and enabling them to start building straight away.

Over the past few years, housebuilding has slumped to its lowest levels for any peacetime year since 1924. Today, the Minister insisted that making this land available could offer a huge boost to the numbers of homes being built and jobs supported.

The first six sites could lead to as many as 3,000 new homes being built and as many as 18,000 jobs in construction and related industries being supported.

Up to 40% per cent of land suitable for housing development – is “sitting idle” in public sector land banks, according to Shapps. It is estimated that making this land available owned by central Government alone could help developers build more than 60,000 new homes over 10 years.

He said: “Draconian top-down targets brought housebuilding to its knees, reaching the lowest level for any peacetime year since 1924. Radical reform is needed to give a boost to developers and kickstart building so we can get the homes this country needs.

“Up to 40 per cent of the land ready for development in this country is simply sitting idle in the hands of the public sector. So today I’m giving the green light to the Homes and Communities Agency to lead the way by making six new sites available for development.

“These will be the first of many sites as all Government departments will now be asked to make land available for housebuilding and, crucially, will be held accountable for the homes built and jobs supported through this. And many of these sites will be available under Build Now, Pay Later, giving builders access to land they only pay for once the homes are built and giving a boost to the level of housebuilding in this country.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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