Budget 2017: Plans to build 300,000 homes a year

House buildingImage copyright PA

Philip Hammond says next week’s Budget will set out how the government will build 300,000 new homes a year.

But the chancellor said there was no “single magic bullet” to increase housing supply and the government would not simply “pour money in”.

Ministers want to speed up developments where planning permission has been granted and give more help to small building firms, he added.

Labour says ministers “still have no plan to fix the housing crisis”.

The shortage of housing is expected to be one of the themes of Wednesday’s Budget, with Mr Hammond under pressure to ease the difficulties faced by first-time buyers trying to get a deposit.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the chancellor said it was “not acceptable” that young people find it so hard to buy a home, and promised to set out how the government would keep its “pledge to the next generation”.

He did not commit to the £50bn reportedly being demanded by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to finance a house-building drive, but committed to the target of 300,000 new homes.

He insisted the government was delivering new homes at record levels, with 217,350 “additional dwellings” in England last year, but acknowledged more needed to be done.

Focusing on sites where planning permission has been granted, he said the government would use the “powers of state” to get “missing homes built”.

It also plans to pay to clean up polluted industrial sites for house building, get town hall bosses to allocate small pockets of land to small developers and guarantee loans by banks to small house builders, he said in an interview with the Sunday Times.

The chancellor’s Budget speech is also expected to include:

  • £75m for artificial intelligence
  • £400m for electric car charge points
  • £100m to boost clean car purchases
  • £160m for next-generation 5G mobile networks across the UK
  • £100m for an additional 8,000 fully-qualified computer science teachers supported by a new National Centre for Computing
  • A retraining partnership between the TUC (Trade Union Congress), CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and the government
  • £76m to boost digital and construction skills
Image caption The government wants to improve access to finance for businesses to build electric car charge points

The chancellor is also expected to announce regulation changes to allow developers to apply to test driverless vehicles.

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, he said investment would “prepare the ground” for the cars to be on roads by 2021.

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Budget needed to show a “genuine, decisive change of course” and not “empty promises”.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, he said the chancellor had an opportunity to address the consequences of his austerity programme.

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