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Osborne 'must boost housing' in autumn statement

The chancellor George Osborne must use his autumn statement to introduce urgent measures to dramatically increase housing supply and address a housing crisis, it was said today.

The Home Builders Federation said the move would also create tens of thousands direct jobs “giving the country a massive economic boost at a crucial time”. 

The HBF said despite some efforts by ministers, house building remains at historically low levels.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of HBF, said: “This is a critical opportunity for the government to demonstrate once again its commitment to increase housing supply and boost the economy.

“Over the past year it has introduced a range of positive measures, but more needs to be done to refine those schemes and address other obstacles to home building.”

“Critical measures” include:

  • Work with lenders to make NewBuy mortgages more widely available and more affordable
  • Expand the definition of ‘affordable housing’ so private developers can build many more homes without public subsidy 
  • Ensure the financial demands levied by Local Authorities on house building sites are realistic – and don’t make sites unviable and impossible to develop
  • Monitor Local Authorities to make sure they have taken their new planning responsibilities seriously by putting in place viable local plans that allow home builders to meet the country’s housing needs over the next 10-15 years
  • Remove unnecessary planning obstacles to housing development, such as unreasonable lists of planning conditions
  • Expand - and increase the flexibility of - the ‘Get Britain Building’ scheme designed to open up mothballed housing sites

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