Government signals £2.3bn infrastructure boost for new housing

Hamish Champ

Funding will also be available to help build new schools, healthcare centres and digital infrastructure

A £2.3bn fund which the government said could unlock 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand across England has been launched today by the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid.

Speaking in Birmingham at the LGA Conference today, Javid is expected say the investment will help to fund physical infrastructure projects including road building, bridges, energy networks and other utilities.

The new investment through the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) will be open for bids from local authorities across England to present 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. The funding will be available from 2017/18 through to 2020/21.

The HIF is part of the government’s £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, which was outlined in the last Autumn statement. The £2.3bn is new money, confirmed a government spokesperson.

Javid 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.”

Home Builders Federation planning director Andrew Whitaker welcomed the move.

“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.”

Local authorities have until 28 September to apply.

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