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Spring Statement: Government announces £3bn affordable home scheme

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Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has announced the introduction of an Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme.

Unveiled as part of the Spring Statement, the chancellor said the £3bn scheme will support the delivery of around 30,000 new affordable homes.

The scheme is due to launch next month, with Hammond (pictured) stating it will help to “restore the dream of homeownership” for would-be first-time buyers.

In addition, Hammond said £717m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund will be used to support the building of 37,000 new homes on sites in west London, Cheshire, Didcot and Cambridge.

In his accompanying written ministerial statement, Hammond outlined a handful of other steps the government will take to boost housing levels in the coming months.

These include introducing additional planning guidance to boost housing diversification on large sites and putting in place a host of planning reforms, including a new permitted development right to allow upwards extension of existing buildings to create new homes.

‘Heard it all before’

Earlier this week it was revealed that the government has failed to build a single starter home.

Jeremy Leaf, former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said anything which boosts the supply of affordable housing is to be welcomed “but we have heard it all before”.

We want to see a timetable for delivery, which will keep prices in check and meet demand irrespective of political and economic uncertainty, rather than just empty promises,” he added.

Other industry figures stated Hammond had missed the opportunity to reform stamp duty in order to boost the market.

Nick Leeming, chairman of estate agent Jackson-Stops, said:Hammond’s pot of gold, which is set aside to assist with any upset caused by a no-deal Brexit, could have been put to far better use. But instead buyers and second homeowners alike are having to fork out thousands in unwarranted stamp duty costs.”

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