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Autumn Statement: Housing, Productivity & Infrastructure Hammond’s Top Priorities

The UK’s undersupply of houses, the productivity gap and greater infrastructure spending were at the top of the agenda in Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement address.

The UK’s undersupply of houses, the productivity gap and greater infrastructure spending were at the top of the agenda in Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement address.

£5bn Pledged to UK Housing Market


Driven by the agenda of making the UK more competitive and productive ahead of the nation’s split from the European Union, the newly appointed chancellor focused on channeling public funds into projects that would encourage Britain’s economic growth.


Building on the announcement made by Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, at last month’s Conservative party conference, Mr Hammond confirmed that the housing market will receive £2.3 billion of funding to create 100,000 new homes by 2020/21 in areas of high demand.


The move is designed to boost the UK’s construction industry by compelling more developers to help build more supply for the UK’s growing housing need.


Additionally, the chancellor confirmed that £1.4 billion will be allocated towards the delivery of a further 40,000 affordable homes before the end of the current Parliament.


As well as providing help to the construction industry, Mr Hammond also pledged £1.7bn to tackle the difficulties in unlocking public land for the construction of homes.



National Productivity Drive


The funding behind the government’s new housing policy stems from a much larger fund – the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). Also announced in today’s address, the fund will see the government allocate £23bn of spending between 2017-18 and 2021-22, with the purpose of boosting the infrastructure of the UK.


Outside of the NPIF, the chancellor also revealed that a Right to Buy pilot scheme would be trialed, allowing housing association tenants the opportunity to purchase their homes at a discounted rate.


Beyond housing, Mr Hammond used his first address to present his platform of focus on productivity and infrastructure – with a particular view on balancing the output of the UK’s regions.


Allocating £1.8bn of funds from the Local Growth Fund, the chancellor addressed the need for the economic output of the UK’s regions to rise to meet new targets.



The End of Lettings Fees and the Autumn Statement


Although revealed last night prior to the Autumn Statement address, Mr Hammond also confirmed the government’s intention to ban letting agent fees.
Describing the fees as ‘wrong’, the chancellor said that attempts at regulation had failed and the government was now forced to step in, stating that the landlord who appoints the agent should be held accountable for any fees.


As well as bringing an end to letting agent fees, Mr Hammond also surprised the market with the announcement that this would also be the final Autumn Statement.


Following next year’s spring Budget, the system will be replaced with an Autumn Budget, where all policy and spending decisions will be addressed, and a spring statement, reserved solely for the discussion of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s economic projections.

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