Some positive news for the construction industry with an extra £500 million for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, a government capital grant programme which encourages housing development in areas of high demand. Mr Hammond’s promise was that the money would build 650,000 homes through allowing local authorities to make additional grant funding available for new infrastructure. The cap on councils’ ability to borrow money to build council homes will also be scrapped.
Relaxed regulations will also allow for empty commercial properties to become homes, which could provide between 300,000 to 400,00 homes.
Although great news for construction, Labour MP Helen Hayes argues that “relaxation of planning regulations so far is creating some of most appalling housing in the country”.
No News for Renewables
The REA comments “The budget lacked clarity on a number of issues facing the industry including alternative support for decarbonising heat post 2020/21, support for less developed technologies and a route to market supported by the Government”.
James Court, Policy and External Affairs Director at the Renewable Energy Association said:
“It is frustrating that another Budget comes and goes, yet the opportunity for the UK to be a genuine leader in crucial future technologies slips by. There is huge support for renewables across the country, parliament, and even within government, yet the Treasury continues to stymie the potential growth in this sector.