The Chancellor, George Osborne has today made the last Budget statement of this Parliament. Compared with some recent Budgets and Autumn Statements there were relatively few housing-related announcements but the Chancellor did unveil a new savings vehicle for first-time buyers, the Help to Buy: ISA and the Budget report also includes statements on reform of the compulsory purchase regime and development in Ebbsfleet, Northstowe, as well as a package of measures to devolve powers and promote development at a local level around the country. The suite of Budget documents can be found here and a summary of the key points is provided below.
Help to Buy: ISA
The Help to Buy: ISA will provide a bonus to first-time buyers saving for a deposit. It will be available to buyers purchasing either new build or second-hand stock and provides a £50 bonus from the government for every £200 saved up to a maximum of £3,000 on £12,000 of savings. The maximum initial deposit will be £1,000 with a maximum monthly deposit of £200. Bonuses are then paid upon purchase of a first home up to the value of £450,000 in London or £250,000 outside of the capital.
Accounts are limited to one per person rather than one per home meaning that couples buying together can both receive a bonus. The accounts will be available through banks and building societies from Autumn 2015
Further information on the Help to Buy: ISA is available here
Budget 2015 launches a consultation on reform of the compulsory purchase regime. The consultation, published this afternoon by the Department for Communities and Local Government, focuses on improving the guidance to reflect changes in case law since the last major changes in 2004, the possible introduction of statutory timescales and faster determination of fair compensation.
The Budget re-confirms the delivery model for Northstowe set out at Autumn Statement 2014 that is expected to see three-quarters of the homes started on the public sector-owned site to be built under direct contract with the public sector and the rest delivered through serviced plots. This is expected to double the build out rate as compared with a conventional private sector route.
The Government has also appointed the University of York to produce a study into the feasibility and impact of this direct commissioning model for new housing, and learn lessons for replicating on a wider scale.
The Government expects the new Urban Development Corporation overseeing development at Ebbsfleet to be operational from April 2015. The Department for Communities and Local Government is expected to announce the Board members of the UDC who will work alongside Chairman Designate, Michael Cassidy.
The Government will consult shortly on a specification to deliver the master plan for Ebbsfleet to inform the UDC’s work. Meanwhile the HCA will also shortly bring forward the Northfleet Embankment site for marketing.
Working together with central government, the Development Corporation has been asked by the Chancellor to produce a realistic and costed plan for the infrastructure needs at Ebbsfleet.
Devolution and Local Growth
The Government has designated the first 20 Housing Zones outside London.
Business Rate retention pilots will begin in Greater Manchester and East Cheshire and in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that will see local authorities retain 100% of growth in business rates above forecasted levels.
In London, the Government has committed to £7m in revenue funding to support the delivery of the Croydon Growth Zone aimed at supporting 4,000 new homes and 10,000 jobs; £97m and a ring-fence of 50% of business rate uplift for the regeneration of Brent Cross; and a commitment to extend the Metropolitan Line to Watford Junction.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority will receive new powers over housing, skills and transport.
The roll-out of City Deals is being expanded with an announcement that the Government will begin negotiations on devolution deals for Cardiff, Aberdeen and Inverness.
Croydon Growth Zone – The government commits, subject to a business case, to provide £7 million revenue funding from 2015-16 to 2019-20 to the Greater London Authority to enable them to support the delivery of the Croydon Growth Zone. This will enable the delivery of over 4,000 homes and 10,000 jobs.
Deputy Director of External Affairs
Home Builders Federation
London, SE1 9PL
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