What do the Budget announcements mean for housing in the Sheffield City Region?

In today’s Budget the Chancellor for the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, made a series of announcements outlining how the Government plans to address the housing crisis in the UK.

Prior to the announcement housing was expected to feature heavily, and the Chancellor left a raft of housing policies until the end of his speech, promising to build 300,000 new homes on average by the mid 2020’s.

The headline housing announcement from his speech was that from today the stamp duty on any property under £300,000 will be abolished for first time buyers.

Other key housing announcements included:

  • An extra £2.7 billion of funding to the housing infrastructure fund.
  • A large scale regional pilot of Right to Buy for housing association tenants in the Midlands.
  • £400 million more for estate regeneration.
  • £34 million for construction skills and training.
  • Reforms to the planning process to be headed up by Homes England, an expansion of the current Homes and Communities Agency.

Also featuring in the announcements was the establishment of a new task force to head up the Government’s commitment to half rough sleeping by 2022, and end homelessness by 2027.

A series of changes to Universal Credit were also announced, including the removal of the seven day waiting period at the start of a claim, and the outline of plans to ensure a smoother transition between those claiming housing benefit transferring to Universal Credit.

Responding to the announcements outlined in the Budget, Chair of South Yorkshire Housing Association, and Professor of Housing Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, Professor Ian Cole said: “It looks like the Government has finally got the message that we need to increase housing supply. And it was great to see that it is now front and centre of the Government’s overall economic plan.

“The stamp duty changes will definitely grab the headlines and whilst it does provide some help for those currently saving for a deposit it doesn’t help those currently in rented housing for who home ownership is still pretty much a pipe dream. It also runs the risk of increasing house prices.

“It is however a step along the way and clearly a signal from the Government that they have listened to what young people want.

“It will take some time to gear up to meet the promise of 300,000 new homes a year. The devil will be in the detail between the balance of homes for the private sector being developed as opposed to the affordable and social homes that are urgently needed. Our national housing crisis is actually a series of local housing crises, so building the right homes, of the right type, in the right areas is crucial.d

“The elephant in the room though is securing the land to build these new homes on and ensuring that developers build quickly once they have planning permission. The Chancellor promised reforms to the planning process, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on these changes as they are key to helping us build new homes in the Sheffield City Region.”

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