Planning Potential's roundup of the Autumn Budget

22 November 2017

Many commentators speculated today’s Autumn Budget would be one of the most ‘boring’ in recent years, with Chancellor Philip Hammond expected to keep big policy announcements on the shelf to avoid any chance of a destabilising backlash.

However, a raft of announcements on housing and planning were saved until the end of the speech and gave us plenty to talk about.

As we speculated in our preview earlier this week, significant sums were pledged to help boost house-building including:

  • £44bn to be invested over the next five years in capital funding, loans and guarantees to improve skills, resources and land supply.
  • A commitment to create the necessary financial incentives to build 300,000 net additional homes per year on average by the mid-2020s.
  • £2.7bn additional investment in the Housing Infrastructure Fund.
  • £400m investment in estate regeneration projects .
  • A £1.1bn fund to unlock strategic sites, to cover both new settlements and urban regeneration schemes.
  • £8bn in financial guarantees to support private housebuilding and PRS.

In addition, there were a number of high-level announcements covering planning reform. Although lacking in detail at the moment we can expect:

  • The introduction of measures to ensure local authorities permit more developments for first time buyers.
  • A review into how land is used for housing. Chaired by Oliver Letwin, this review will look at the gap between permissions and housing starts and is expected to report ahead of next year’s Spring Statement.
  • The expansion of the HCA into Homes England, which is expected to be better resourced in terms of money, expertise, and planning and compulsory purchase powers.

Finally, here was an announcement relaxing the HRA borrowing cap for Local Authorities. The one line announcement stated only that there will be “A lifting of HRA caps for councils in high demand areas to get them building again.” How much this will extend to and what will constitute high demand areas will be the subject of much speculation.

As usual, it will be left to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid to add detail to the announcements. Planning Potential will be monitoring all the releases and providing further updates when they are available.