The Conservative Party Conference has brought with it the usual round of announcements and policy promises. This will be both the first and the last time we hear about many of these, as they prove either too difficult to implement or lacking in the necessary political capital.
Brexit has, justifiably, taken the lions share of attention. However there has also been an announcement of interest to those within the housing world. The Government has set up a £3 billion Home Building Fund aiming to unlock housing. The fund aims to help with the cost of developing homes and also the creation of necessary infrastructure to make projects viable. In line with the government's action first agenda, they have issued a guide to potential applicants alongside the announcement of the fund.
It is too soon to know the weight that this will be given by the Conservatives going forward. Some of the funding is also a re-packaging of existing funds, so not additional monies dedicated to the issue. However, the optimist in me is hoping that this announcement is signifies the importance the Government are giving to this crucial issue going forward. It is also heartening that there is a focus within the fund on smaller house-builders, self-build projects and those implementing innovative solutions.
Fingers crossed that this the start of a concentrated effort to unlock housing supply on the part of the Government and not the last we will hear on the matter for some time .....
The fund is made up of two parts. The Development Finance Loan funding aims to meet the development costs of building homes for sale or rent, the Infrastructure Finance Loan funding is for site preparation and the infrastructure needed to enable housing to progress and to prepare land for development.