£83 million pledge for FTBs

Nia Williams

March 9, 2010

Low cost homes for sale on sites across every region of the country are getting support so more families can take their first step onto the housing ladder through the Government’s HomeBuy scheme – which has already helped over 130,000 families buy their first home.

Crucially this cash will also get struggling housebuilders building homes again, safeguarding over 1,700 jobs.

Because Healey has made it a requirement that those receiving funding must provide apprenticeships and opportunities for local workers, today’s cash will give 99 additional young people the chance to learn the building trade.

The Minister has already given 141 projects mothballed by the recession cash to get back on track and workers are back on site on many of these. Today’s extra funding means nearly 5,700 homes are now going ahead and 1,700 jobs in construction have been safeguarded.

Developers receiving cash today have committed to get workers back on site by this time next year with almost a quarter saying they’ll have workers back on site by the end of the month.

This support is not a handout though and comes on tough terms, with much of the money expected to be repaid within five years. Developers have also had to pass stringent value for money assessments carried out by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to prove that each taxpayer pound is well spent.

As part of the Government’s drive to make new homes cleaner and greener, priority has been given to those schemes which are set to meet high environmental standards, with the overwhelming majority of successful schemes meeting at least Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Commenting, John Healey said: “We’re putting the weight of Government investment into building much-needed affordable homes, keeping people in work and giving young people a chance of apprenticeships.

“That’s why today I’m allocating £83 million to get 87 stalled developments across the country up and running again, creating 1,700 jobs and giving more than 2,200 first-time buyers the chance to take an affordable step onto the property ladder.

“In this recession, the Government has not stepped back and left the homes and jobs we need to the market. We’re using public funding to keep Britain building through the downturn.”

Following today’s announcement, Mr Healey has now allocated more than £3.6 billion for housebuilding since June, funding nearly 68,000 new homes, starting the largest council housebuilding programme for two decades and freeing up public land for housing.

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