A £2.3 billion fund which could unlock 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand has been launched by the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid.
The Communities Secretary says the investment will help to fund vital physical infrastructure projects like the building of roads, bridges, energy networks and other utilities, the absence of which continues to hold housebuilding back.
The new investment through the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) aims to solve this problem and today opens for bids for local authorities across England to come forward with proposals to help get homes built faster.
Funding will also be available to help build new schools, healthcare centres and digital infrastructure to accommodate growing communities and alleviate pressure on public services. Once proposals have been approved, it is expected that local authorities would begin building the necessary infrastructure immediately and for the homes to follow quickly afterwards.
HIF is part of the government's wider £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund, which targets spending on areas critical to boosting productivity, including on housing, transport and digital communications.
Sajid Javid, Communities Secretary, said: "To build the homes this country needs, we need to deliver the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time. By investing in local infrastructure, we can help unlock building thousands of new homes in the areas where they are needed most. The Housing Infrastructure Fund will also make sure we have better public services in place for local communities."
Andrew Jones, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: "Where we live plays a huge part in our lives; from the distance of our commute to the local facilities available. By ensuring we have enough housing in areas where it is needed the most, we can boost productivity and support new communities to grow and thrive.
This money is part of our £23 billion National Productivity and Investment Fund, which will ensure Britain is match fit for the future."
Lord Porter, LGA Chairman, said: "We're pleased that the government has followed through on its commitment to invest in infrastructure linked to housing and that this to be led by councils, as we outlined on our preliminary Housing Commission findings last year.
Going forward, what's crucial is that the arrangements to access this fund are flexible, especially around different housing tenures, and that all councils can access funds to deliver housing for their communities. Councils know their communities, and the places in them, best and so it's right that approaches to invest in local infrastructure are led by local authorities."
Home Builders Federation Planning Director Andrew Whitaker said: "Funding necessary infrastructure will give local authorities the opportunity to remove barriers to developments being delivered. Direct support for critical infrastructure will not only unlock more housing, it should also help to accelerate planned developments.
Local authorities that plan for growth should be supported and that will, in turn, allow house builders to get on and deliver the homes our communities so desperately need. HIF is an important demonstration of the government's commitment to housing, following on from the housing white paper, which sets out a strategy to fix the nation's dysfunctional housing market.
The fund will support councils to step up their plans for growth, release more land for housing and get attractive, well designed homes that people want to live in built at pace and scale."
Further information; £2.3 billion of capital grant funding will be allocated to local authorities on a competitive basis. The funding will be available from 2017-18 to 2020-21.