Home Government policy Is the government bored of the housing market?

Is the government bored of the housing market?


The government’s most recent Budget announcement has frustrated the property industry as Rishi Sunak’s speech barely touches on the housing market. 

It comes after a year-or-so of intense government focus on the housing market, with things like the stamp duty holiday and government-backed 95% mortgages stealing headlines. So, for the second Budget in one year to more or less ignore property altogether is strange and frustrating for the industry and public alike. 

What did Rishi say about homes?

That’s not to say property was completely absent from the Spending Review.  Indeed, Sunak confirmed that there would be a “£24bn multi-year settlement for housing, £11.5bn of which would be used to build a target of 180,000 affordable homes”.

He also confirmed the government’s commitment to £5bn in funding to help solve the ongoing cladding scandal, suggesting that the cost would be covered by creating a new developer tax. 

Further money was pledged, to the tune of £1.8 billion, to turn brownfield sites into new homes and, finally, a further £65 million to help people with rent debts. 

The thing is, none of this was new, none of it was a surprise. Sunak had already revealed these moves ahead of the Budget. 

What didn’t Rishi say?

The biggest complaint from housing experts was the complete lack of information regarding the development of new affordable homes across the UK.

Policy and Campaigns Manager at Propertymark, Timothy Douglas, said that the ‘good news’ in the budget was eclipsed by all that was missing, saying the whole thing ‘leaves a lot to be desired’, suggesting, for example, that the £65 million for rent debt was nice, but that ‘the devil is in the detail’. 

He continued: 

“Almost four million low-income households are in arrears with their household bills, yet this money will be targeted at those who are most at risk of homelessness, excluding a significant number of others from help.”

Douglas also pointed out that the new money for redeveloping brownfield sites and creating new affordable homes is not in fact new money at all, simply redirected money, saying that just 32,000 of the 180,000 would be social rented housing, just a third of what the country really needs. 

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