23 Dec 2021

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities white paper policies

Full list of housing and planning policies:

  • £1.5bn Levelling Up Home Building Fund offering housebuilders development finance.
  • Home Building Fund offering loans to pay for necessary infrastructure and enabling works on housing schemes (amount unspecified).
  • £1.5bn Brownfield Fund to pay for regeneration of 20 town and city centers. This is taken from the £1.8bn allocated to brownfield and infrastructure funding in the autumn Budget, designed to unlock the delivery of up to 160,000 homes across England.
  • Wolverhampton and Sheffield already allocated Brownfield Fund, £120 million, £28 million would go to the West Midlands Combined Authority and £13 million to the South Yorkshire Combined Authority.
  • Refocus Homes England so that it uses its extensive statutory powers to partner with local leaders to unlock barriers and drive forward regeneration.
  • Scrapping the 80/20 funding rule that focused investment in Greater London, and “instead invest in more homes in the North and Midlands to relieve pressure on the South East”.
  • UK Government target that “majority of delivery on brownfield sites” is outside London and the South East.
  • New Task Force set up to look at ways to provide better choice, quality and security of housing for older people.
  • White Paper in the spring to consult on introducing a “legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector”. Plans to include exploring creation of a National Landlord Register and taking tough action against rogue landlords.
  • “Improved Green Belts” around towns and cities.
  • Further devolution to areas that desire it, including extending existing deals with combined authorities, further new mayoral combined authority deals and a new wave of county deals.
  • Government to enhance compulsory purchase powers to support town centre regeneration.

Homes England has set out details of two new funding pots for housebuilders designed to support the government’s new levelling up drive in the wake of the white paper

The funding pots include a £1.5bn Levelling Up Home Building Fund, which will provide development finance for builders struggling to secure commercial loans, and a separate Home Building Fund, designed to pay infrastructure and enabling costs necessary to get development off the ground.

The details come as the government gave the agency a new remit to support local regeneration efforts and confirmed the cancellation of the previously introduced 80/20 rule, under which the agency’s funding had been targeted at wealthy areas with the lowest housing affordability.

The new funds are also part of a raft of announcements from government yesterday to support the ambitions in the Levelling Up White Paper, such as a pledge to set up a task force to expand housing for older people, and another to introduce a “decent homes standard” for the private rented sector.

Homes England said the £1.5bn Levelling Up Home Building Fund will provide loans on commercial terms of anything between £250k to £250m, to finance the development of homes for sale or rent. Schemes will only be eligible if they are financially viable, will provide at least five homes and would stall without the money.

Click here to find out more about the Levelling Up Home Building Fund

Homes England may also use the money to set up partnerships with lenders, such as £250m development finance with Lloyds, Barclays and United Trust Bank.

Homes England said the separate Home Building Fund would also provide loans to developers, master developers and landowners of up to £250m to pay for site preparation, enabling or other infrastructure works on schemes needed before housebuilding can start.

Click here to find out more about the Home Building Fund

The agency said the money could be used for “any non-housebuilding activity needed to unlock large sites and enable partners to use their capital resources to deliver housing quickly.”

The money will be available to UK registered firms with viable schemes that would stall or progress much less quickly without the funding.

Homes England said successful bidders would need to have a controlling interest in the land and a clear route to achieving planning consent, and typically also have a masterplan or outline planning granted.

The agency said applications for funding to both schemes would be prioritised that gave the best taxpayer value, early delivery of homes, and support policies around net zero and construction innovation.

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