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Housing Forum rounds on latest National Infrastructure Plan

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The Housing Forum lobby group has attacked the coalition’s newly announced £375 billion National Infrastructure Plan (NIP), accusing it of ignoring the ‘critical’ housing issue

Today treasury secretary Danny Alexander unveiled the coalition’s fourth NIP which includes confirmation of funding for a new £50 million railway at Gatwick Airport, road improvements to Felixstowe Port, Suffolk and £1 billion of cash for the Northern Line extension..

Alexander said: ‘You name it, we’re building it right now. This is great news for the people of the UK because after years of neglect, the UK’s energy, road, rail, flood defence, communications and water infrastructure needs renewal.”

But Housing Forum chief executive Shelagh Grant rounded on the transport-centric plan. She said: ‘Housing is more critical to the country’s infrastructure than one -off flagship transport projects.’

Grant urged the government to use the autumn statement to address the housing issue through a range of financial and policy measures including tax breaks for house builders and also a call to free up more land for building.

She also proposed the establishment of a National Housing Bank backed by major investors which would ‘offer investment opportunities in retail bonds and Housing ISAs for smaller investors and would immediately stimulate house building.’

The National Infrastructure Plan at a glance

  • Additional £50 million for a redevelopment of Gatwick Airport’s railway station
  • Government guarantee to support finance for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, North Wales
  • A UK guarantee for the £1 billion Northern Line extension to Battersea in London
  • Funding for improvements to the A50 around Uttoxeter, in Staffordshire
  • Improvements to the A14 around Felixstowe Port, Suffolk
  • Target for the sale of corporate and financial assets to be doubled to £20 billion
  • Above to include the selling of the government’s shares in Eurostar
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