Norfolk House Builder Welcomes Chancellor’s Housing Plans, But Urges Caution On The Details

A leading Norfolk house builder has welcomed George Osborne’s emphasis on providing new homes in his Spending Review announcement today (Wednesday 25th November) – but is calling for measures to ensure the promised cash is used efficiently, and to streamline the planning process to allow house builders to deliver the 400,000 new homes (200,000 new starter homes) he has promised.

Tony Abel, managing director of Watton-based Abel Homes, said that the £2.3 billion earmarked to help first-time buyers purchase a home at a 20 per cent discount was a good idea – but that the details of its implementation will be crucial.

“We welcome the emphasis on housing in the announcement, and give a cautious welcome to the proposal to allocate £2.3 billion to private sector house builders to enable them to offer new homes to first time buyers at a 20 per cent discount.

“However, as always the devil will be in the detail, and it is important that the money gets to house builders who really understand the local housing need, and who will be able to bring forward developments which are appropriate for the locality and which meet the needs of local communities.

“I think most house builders will welcome the emphasis on delivering the affordable housing aspect of development in the form of discounts for first-time buyers. 

“Helping more younger people purchase their own home will have a significant knock-on effect for the whole market, allowing growing families to move on up the ladder, and stimulating the building of more new homes to meet Britain’s chronic housing shortage.

“But if the Chancellor is asking private sector constructors to deliver a big increase in new homes, at the same time he needs to streamline the planning process to enable us to do so.  In general, it is not lack of demand that is holding us back from building more – it is the many hurdles we have to jump over simply to get a spade in the ground.”

George Osborne announced a number of initiatives in today’s announcement, including:

  • £2.3 billion allocated for private sector house builders to deliver 200,000 more new starter homes, to be sold at a 20 per cent discount to first time buyers
  • £4 billion injected into the Help To Buy; Shared Ownership scheme, which has been extended until 2021
  • £400 million allocated to help build 8,000 specialist homes for older people and those with disabilities
  • £200 million allocated to a new scheme which will enable tenants to rent a home for five years at reduced rents while they save for a deposit to buy the home

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