CIH response to Budget 2010: housing finance reforms tantalisingly close
The last budget before the general election continued to offer good news for many people keen to get on the housing ladder and security for many homeowners needing help to avoid losing their homes. But it is the much awaited proposals to address long-standing problems with the planning system and the reform of local authority finances which offers change for the long-term good health of the housing sector.
In a quiet budget for the affordable housing sector, the removal of stamp duty on homes up to £250,000 for first time buyers and the extension of DWP’s Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) are welcome measures. Plans to address financial exclusion by guaranteeing that everyone can have access to a bank account – likely to benefit one million more people – will also improve the opportunities for many people living in social housing.
The Government’s proposals for the reform of council housing finance are expected tomorrow and CIH is hoping for a substantial grant to stimulate local authority house building. The news that only 64 per cent of local authorities have a five year supply of land for house building is also an area of concern. CIH welcomes plans to reform the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant to push for greater compliance and remove this major barrier to housing supply.
The proposals to reduce housing benefit paid to those in very expensive properties will need to be looked at closely to ensure that people living in high house price areas are not unfairly affected.
Richard Capie, CIH Director of Policy and Practice, said: "Behind the headlines of today’s budget speech is news of two announcements on finance and land supply that should be most prized by the housing sector. They are tantalisingly close and making sure these changes don’t get lost in the noise of the election must be one of the sector’s priorities for the coming months."