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Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond delivered his first Autumn Budget on 22 November 2017, after annual Budget announcements moved to publication in Autumn, rather than Spring. The LexisPSL Planning and Construction teams bring together the most important features for the infrastructure and housebuilding sectors.
The full text of the Autumn Budget 2017 is available here.
Much was said about existing efforts to invest in infrastructure: Crossrail and HS2 were mentioned as specific examples of how the government is supporting infrastructure growth. New announcements include:
In relation to Crossrail 2, which had not been referred to at all in the Spring Budget this year, the Chancellor said:
The government recognises the need for investment in London’s infrastructure to support its growth, and will continue to work with Transport for London on developing fair and affordable plans for Crossrail 2, including through an independent
review of funding and financing.
The Chancellor identified that the number of young people owning their own homes has dropped from 59% to 38%. He recognised that despite housebuilding standing at its highest rate since the last financial crisis, fixing the housing market will require
spending money, planning reforms and intervention. In terms of financial commitments, the government will:
Planning reforms were promised. The focus will be on:
The government will also support more strategic and zonal planning approaches through housing deals in the South East, where housing need is at its most acute. A housing deal with Oxfordshire has been announced, part of its wider strategic investment
in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor, where Oxfordshire will bring forward for adoption a joint statutory spatial plan and commit to a target of 100,000 homes by 2031, in return for a package of government support over the next five years,
including £30m a year for infrastructure and further support for affordable housing and local capacity.
The government is also continuing housing deal negotiations with Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, Leeds and the West of England.
Additionally, pledges were made to:
Support in terms of spending on critical infrastructure will be widely welcomed and provide confidence that the infrastructure sector is underpinned by government support. Equally positive is the recognition in the Autumn Budget 2017 that infrastructure
provision leads to economic growth and regeneration, with a heavy focus on areas outside of London benefitting from
investment. Also of interest is the government’s support for the adoption of modern construction techniques (for example offsite construction)—while it falls short of a mandate (as has been the case for the use of building information
modelling) for offsite construction, such a move is nonetheless progressive.
The financial commitments to support housebuilding will no doubt be well-received, although as perhaps expected, much of the focus is on building new homes to enable young people to become
home owners and there is little other than financial guarantees and a promise to look at longer tenancies for long-term renters and the private rented sector generally. Large house-builders will not welcome the underlying allegations that land-baking
is holding back delivery and it is frustrating that
a further consultation on CIL is promised, given the wide-ranging CIL Review carried out in 2015/2016. Announcements on planning reform and intervention are also very thin on detail, and while the expansion of the Homes and Communities Agency
is a positive move, it already possesses compulsory purchase powers, so it is unclear how it will now be incentivised to use those powers to drive up delivery.
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