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HCA upbeat about housing programme

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The Homes and Communities Agency has reaffirmed its ability to deliver its programme of housing and regeneration investment following the Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Report.

Chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake said: “The Chancellor has put forward a series of measures that allow us to maintain the momentum of our investment programme and at the same time build on the innovative approaches that we already have underway, such as the Private Rental Sector and Public Land Initiative.

“Creating an environment that attracts more institutional investment into the private rental market; freeing up a greater supply of public land; and increasing the impact of local authorities on housing delivery are all significant shifts that will help stimulate the housing and regeneration sector.”

The PBR referred to key areas of HCA work:

  • Stimulating the private rental sector - the HCA’s efforts to attract institutional investment to increase the supply of good quality, private rental homes, will be given greater impetus through a government-led consultation in early 2010 to see how this type of investment can increase housing supply
  • Increasing land supply - the use of surplus public sector land offers a substantial opportunity to deliver more new homes and provide receipts for the public purse. The HCA has already established a Public Land Initiative that will be used as the template for increasing and expanding the use of public land for new development
  • More effective capital investment - the HCA will undertake six ‘Total Capital’ case studies aimed at maximising the outputs achieved through stronger co-ordination of public and private capital investment to deliver infrastructure such as schools, health care and transport facilities to underpin housing growth and renewal of place
  • More help for first time buyers - The HomeBuy Direct programme will be extended in to the next financial year to deliver more opportunities for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder. An investment of £150m in HomeBuy Direct in 2010-11, coupled with an increase of around 3,000 homes delivered through Kickstart, will increase the target from 10,000 to 13,000 homes by March 2011

Sir Bob added: “Tough economic times and this fragile housing market mean we need to continue with investment but come up with smarter, more efficient ways of delivering more with less, which is what the Total Capital case studies will help illustrate.

“We are already seeing our resources working in a smarter way, as our Kickstart programme reveals, with more of our funding being channelled into HomeBuy Direct as sales accelerate and developers move away from needing investment support.”

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