post

“THE BIGGEST HOUSE BUILDING PROGRAMME SINCE THE 1970s?”

George Osborne’s Autumn budget statement has this week pledged £2billion to the Housing Budget, more then twice the amount currently earmarked, as part of a drive to create a more sustainable housing market by building 400,000 more affordable homes by 2020.

A pilot scheme allowing housing association tenants the ‘right to buy’ has gone live, and many of the restrictions on shared ownership are now also due to be lifted. An increase in the availability of loans for small building firms has also been promised.

With house building currently at a six year low, Osborne’s approach also incorporates significant planning reforms, intended to release enough public land to build 160,000 homes and allow vacant plots of commercial land to be used for the building of starter homes, to be offered to first time buyers aged under 40 for 20% less then their market price.

The statement has provoked a reaction in the stock market, with shares in housebuilders such as Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey significantly rising upon news of the announcement. The former saw a rise of 6pc on the morning of 25th November, although this rise has since eased to 2.1pc more then its pre announcement level.

Despite their apparent proactivity, the government clearly has a long way to go before it can properly convince the British public of it ability to cure the current shortage of housing land supply. House prices have already risen 15% since 2010 and critics of this statement have questioned the likelihood of Osborne’s vision for affordable housing ever coming true, with some also pointing to the apparent failures of the ‘help to buy’ scheme, which has come into criticism for extending to less then 4% of the 2.4 million property transactions in the past 2 years.

Prospect Law and Prospect Energy provide a unique combination of legal and technical advisory services for clients involved in energy, infrastructure and natural resources projects in the UK and internationally.

For more information, please contact Edmund Robb on 07930 397531, or by email on: er@prospectlaw.co.uk.

For a PDF of this blog click here

post

THE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE COMMISSION

Chancellor George Osborne has overseen the creation of a National Infrastructure Commission.

The Commission came into existence on 5th October and will supervise the spending of £100billion on roads, rail lines, energy and flood defenses. It will be headed by a team of seven Commissioners and has been tasked with putting forward full, impartial recommendations on how money should be spent on economic infrastructure at the beginning of each parliament.

The Commission’s plans will look at the infrastructure the UK might need in 30 years time. The intention is for the Commission to publish proposals after extensive public consultations and it is hoped that its plans will go some way towards helping safeguard future investment in the national economy and allowing the UK to compete with its Western European rivals.

Spending on infrastructure has fallen 5.6% since 2010 and George Osborne has previously commented that the UK’s reputation for world leading infrastructure had ‘slipped’. Currently only in existence provisionally, it is expected that the Commission will be given a statutory grounding in upcoming legislation.

Criticism of UK infrastructure spending emphasizes, amongst other things, disproportionate investment in the Greater London area.

Whatever strategies the Commission proposes, it is extremely hard to envisage it ever appeasing all sides. Many have already expressed concern that the creation of this Commission could exacerbate inequality and hamper investment in the North.

Prospect Law and Prospect Energy provide a unique combination of legal and technical advisory services for clients involved in energy, infrastructure and natural resources projects in the UK and internationally.

For more information, please contact Edmund Robb on 07930 397531, or by email on: er@prospectlaw.co.uk.

For a PDF of this blog click here