Reaction to the Budget23 November 2017
It is very good news that the government has put housing at the heart of its policy programme. The budget announcement on 22 November coincided with our CEO Forum in Birmingham. Industry leaders there expressed concern about land supply and skills shortages, so the announcements of £1.1 bn to unlock strategic sites and measures to “unstick” small sites could be of real practical benefit.
The headline figure of 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s is a noble aspiration. There is a real determination to deliver this across the sector, but there is no short-term fix for the skills shortage and more could have been included on the release of public land. We are pleased to see £170m earmarked for construction innovation of which £34m is to upscale innovative training models, including a programme in the West Midlands. But more detail is required about the impact this can have.
We look forward to further announcements about the extra £1 billion headroom for council borrowing and hope this can have kick-start a successful programme of council built homes.
With the focus on “high demand “areas how will the package of measures announced work out in areas of social and affordable renting? If we want to fix the broken housing market, there has to be a balance across all areas and housing tenures.