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Sajid Javid calls for government borrowing to build homes

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has called on the government to borrow money in order to build more homes.

Speaking on Sunday on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Javid said: “What I want to do is make sure that we’re using everything we have available to deal with this housing crisis.

“Where that means, for example, we can sensibly borrow more to invest in the infrastructure that leads to more housing, [and] take advantage of some of the record low interest rates that we have, I think we should absolutely consider that.”

The communities secretary said that borrowing money to fund housebuilding could be “the right thing if done sensibly” but would not be drawn on what methods would be used to raise the money, such as housing bonds.

He added: “Taking advantage of record low interest rates … can help not just with the housing itself but the infrastructure investment that’s needed alongside the housing.

“This is one of the biggest issues facing the country and is one of the biggest barriers to social progress facing the country today.”

Mr Javid also said that housing would be covered in November’s Budget, raising the prospect of further policy announcements from the government.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable responded in a tweet today: “Now communities secretary wants to borrow to build to meet housing crisis. At long last some sense. Has HM Treasury done overdue u-turn?”

Mr Javid’s call for more borrowing comes amid renewed political focus on housing following the party conferences.

At this month’s Conservative Party Conference, prime minister Theresa May pledged an extra £2bn for affordable housing, which will be available to councils to directly build their own owns.

This takes the total affordable housing budget to £9bn.

Chancellor Philip Hammond also announced an extra £10bn for Help to Buy equity loans, a scheme which now accounts for one-third of new-build completions.

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