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DCLG launches £2.3bn fund to boost infrastructure and drive housebuilding

A fund worth £2.3bn with the potential to unlock 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas has today been officially launched by the DCLG.

Speaking at the LGA Conference, attended by PSE, communities secretary Sajid Javid explained that the money would be used to support vital infrastructure projects that will open the door for more affordable homes to be built.

The absence of vital infrastructure like roads, bridges, energy networks and other utilities can often stop houses being built in areas, but the new fund will seek to address this issue by boosting these amenities in areas of need.

New schools, healthcare centres and digital infrastructure could also fall under the fund through the Housing Investment Fund (HIF) to support growing communities and ensure that public services are not overstretched under increased demand.

The fund was originally announced in the Autumn Budget last year by chancellor Phillip Hammond, who said the money would be made available for local authorities by 2020-21.

It also comes the same week that the LGA warned of ‘rental logjam’ as one in seven private renters spent half of their pay on just paying rent due to a lack of affordable homes.

Once these proposals are approved, councils should be able to start building necessary infrastructure immediately to allow for housebuilding to be completed as soon as possible.

HIF also falls under the government’s wider National Productivity Investment Fund, which adds up to £23bn to target spending on areas critical to boosting productivity – including housing, transport and digital communications.

“To build the homes this country needs, we need to deliver the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time,” Javid said today. “By investing in local infrastructure, we can help unlock building thousands of new homes in the areas where they are needed most.

“The Housing Infrastructure Fund will also make sure we have better public services in place for local communities.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones MP added: “Where we live plays a huge part in our lives; from the distance of our commute to the local facilities available. By ensuring we have enough housing in areas where it is needed the most, we can boost productivity and support new communities to grow and thrive.”

Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, stated that his organisation was pleased that Whitehall is following through on its commitment to invest in infrastructure linked to housing, and that this move would be led by councils as per the LGA’s previous calls.

“Going forward, what’s crucial is that the arrangements to access this fund are flexible, especially around different housing tenures, and that all councils can access funds to deliver housing for their communities,” he stated.

“Councils know their communities, and the places in them, best and so it’s right that approaches to invest in local infrastructure are led by local authorities.”

Top Image: Rui Vieira

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