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Government announces £1bn funding pot to unlock housing schemes

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A £1 billion funding pot to help build 250,000 homes has been announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

George Osborne said that the government was committed to tackling the problem of housing supply and announced measures to boost housebuilding in this afternoon’s statement.

He said the government would create a £1 billion, 6-year programme to fund infrastructure to unlock new large housing sites in areas including Manchester and Leeds. He said that this would help build 250,000 homes.

The chancellor said: ‘If we want to more people to own homes we have to build more homes.’

According to the autumn statement, the programme will begin in 2014-15, with investment decisions on nine specific sites which would provide 27,000 houses. Around £50 million of funding will be earmarked for Local Enterprise Partnership supported bids.

The limit on local authority Housing Revenue Account borrowing will be increased by £150 million in 2015-16 and £150 million in 2016-17. This is aimed at funding support for around 10,000 new affordable homes and will form part of the Local Growth Fund, available to local authorities who have a proposal agreed by their Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Right to Buy support will be increased by introducing ‘Right to Buy Agents’ to help buyers complete purchases, Osborne said.

Two more banks, Aldermore and Virgin are also expected to join the Help to Buy scheme this month.

Osborne also said the government would explore options for kick starting the regeneration of some of the worst housing estates through repayable loans.

He said: ‘Regeneration of housing estates can reinvigorate blighted neighbourhoods, turning them into vibrant communities, as well as boosting the supply of housing in those areas.’

The chancellor also said that the government would  launch a review into the role local authorities can play in supporting overall housing supply.

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