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Prime minister announces £2 billion funding boost for council house construction

Prime minister announces £2 billion funding boost for council house construction

Prime minister Theresa May has announced that the government is to provide an extra £2 billion of funding for council house building in England, which is designed to deliver an extra 25,000 homes. 

Outlining the measure in her speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Mrs May said the money would enable councils to compete with housing associations to build social homes in areas where the pressure on affordability was greatest and many are at risk of homelessness.

With subsidies of around £80,000 per home, an extra 25,000 social homes could be delivered this way, the government estimates.

She said the measure was "getting government back into the business of building houses".

Mrs May added: "It won’t be quick or easy, but as prime minister I am going to make it my mission to solve this problem. I will take personal charge of the government’s response, and make the British Dream a reality by reigniting home ownership in Britain once again."

The 'British Dream' to which she referred was that of each generation enjoying better levels of wealth than the previous one, which includes living in better housing.

As well as more social housing, the prime minister challenged the construction sector to build more houses for owner occupancy. She remarked: "I want to send the clearest possible message to our house builders. We, the government, will make sure the land is available.

"We'll make sure our young people have the skills you need. In return, you must do your duty to Britain and build the homes our country needs."

The Conservatives had set a target of building 1.5 million new homes in their election manifesto, which includes completing the target of a million between 2015 and 2020 set at the previous election.

However, so far housebuilding has lagged behind this level, although the numbers of starts and completions has steadily risen year-on-year. For this reason, the government's white paper on housing, published in February, proposed raising the target from 200,000 new homes a year to 250,000.

Image: iStock


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