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Mark Prisk pledges to free up housing finance

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The new housing minister, Mark Prisk, has said he wants to ensure ‘a continuing dialogue’ with housing experts and wants to tackle problems holding back housing finance.

The minister told the AJ’s sister publication Construction News that as a chartered surveyor by profession, he valued the experience of leading industry figures.

Prisk said he hoped to draw on this experience to tackle the problems of regulation and credit availability currently plaguing the industry, adding that ‘we want to see [developers] building more’.

The new housing minister has pledged to work with industry figures to solve the housing crisis. Questions had been raised as to whether his predecessor, Grant Shapps was more committed to presentation than to policy.

Prisk told Construction News his priority was to build ‘more homes, more decent homes for more people’.

‘It’s about bank loans to help the builders and the developers, it’s also about mortgages’, he said, hailing the government’s Funding for Lending scheme as “a really important step” in freeing up the flow of credit, by providing cheap credit access to banks that lend.

He also championed government’s moves earlier this month to reduce regulatory burdens.

‘A bit of regulation, in the form of s106 agreements, made this site unviable’, he said of the Berkeley and Rolfe Judd’s 45-storey Saffron Square development in Croydon, South London.

“The business and the council were flexible and now you see 750 homes happening because that’s made the site viable.”

He also called the government’s s106 policies ‘a radical step’, adding that ‘sometimes, quite understandably, people ask too much of the developer’.

Prisk also spoke of the importance of enabling first time buyers to purchase homes saying the benefits would be felt through ‘the chains they unlock’, and said the NewBuy scheme was ‘picking up pace’, touting the initiative as set to help 25,000 people.

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