Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised to modernise affordable housing and promised a £300m package to assist first-time home buyers in his draft legislative programme.
In a draft outline of the next parliamentary session, and a preview of the potential content in the Queen’s Speech in November, he proposed to spend £200m to buy unsold new homes to rent to social tenants as well as a £100m injection into shared equity schemes.
Brown has also proposed a Community Empowerment, Housing and Economic Regeneration bill, a housing reform Green paper and a business rates supplements bill for the fourth session towards the end of the year.
The Community Empowerment Housing bill aims to give greater powers to regions while the housing reform green paper will set out proposal to ‘provide housing services and options which help and encourage people towards greater economic independence and social mobility and to deliver greater fairness and make best use of our resources’.
The business rates bill will create a new power for the highest tier local authority in an area to levy a local supplement on the business rate and to retain the proceeds for investment in that area.
Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said: ‘We are devolving decision making and delivering further freedoms to local and regional government which will in turn drive economic growth. Local areas will have the powers and incentives to take the lead on planning for jobs, homes, investment and the environment.’
Housing Minister Caroline Flint said: ‘In the forthcoming green paper we will set out plans for improving the contribution that housing, both in the private rented and social sector, can play in improving social mobility and independence at the same time as promoting fairness and value for money.’
Brown said the overall aim of the draft legislative programme was to build a ‘more prosperous and fairer Britain’.