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New funding for homes announced

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has announced a new £515 million investment that is to be targeted at the delivery of homes across the UK in a bid to meet the country's ongoing housing shortage.

Housing minister Mark Prisk revealed £290 million is to be utilised for the disposal of government-owned land that will help to facilitate an increase in new developments over the coming years.

The remaining £225 million is to be put towards a rolling programme of large-scale projects across the country, with a focus on speeding up the delivery of long-term investments, such as the provision of 6,000 new residential properties at the Cranbrook community in Exeter.

HCA chief executive Pat Ritchie said: "We welcome any moves to increase the amount of land available for development and speed up the rate at which it is brought forward to increase housing supply and boost economic growth.

"We are pleased that government has recognised the expertise of the HCA in managing large portfolios of land and complex development sites, using our understanding of the economics of development and local knowledge."

Partnership between the HCA and local authorities will be of paramount importance to the effective use of these funds, with councils being given greater autonomy to decide how best to use this money to fulfil the requirements of their community.

Mr Ritchie added that the department will work alongside local bodies to ensure the funding meets the needs of the public in the most speedy and cost-effective manner possible.

The news follows a significant increase in the government's New Homes Bonus earlier this month, with an additional £661 million funding boost for the initiative that will aim to deliver an extra 142,000 homes over the coming 12 months.

Mr Prisk noted a significant proportion of these properties will come under the government's affordable housing scheme banner, with all areas of the country to benefit from this decision. 

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