“Environmental campaigners have condemned the chancellor’s budget plan to spend £60m on tree planting while £30bn is being pledged for roads.
They highlighted the contrast between the money the government is vowing to spend on improving green spaces and how much it is putting towards infrastructure that they fear will encourage driving and damage the environment.
Philip Hammond will announce in the budget that £60m will be spent on planting millions more trees across England, including a project to plant new street and urban trees set to receive £10m.
Environmental groups attack government’s £30bn roads spending plan
The remaining £50m will be used to buy carbon credits from landowners who plant woodland, the Treasury said.
But hours earlier, the government revealed it would be putting £30bn – 500 times as much – towards roads.
That money – ringfenced vehicle excise duty – will be used to upgrade and repair major routes including motorways, as well as fixing potholes.
But it may also go towards building new roads. …”
“In a boost for U.K. homebuilders, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will introduce a new Help to Buy program that will run from 2021 until 2023.
The scheme extends the original program, which has drawn criticism for boosting prices. It will be limited to first-time buyers and regional price caps will be introduced, limiting the value of the home to 1.5 times the price for an average debut home purchaser.
The government gives home buyers an interest-free loan of 20 percent to 40 percent of the purchase price under the program. The announcement was made alongside the publication of an independent, government-commissioned review of the original program. Some had feared the review might result in the policy being scrapped, but it confirmed the policy has boosted house building.
Persimmon plc, the U.K.’s largest home builder, has gained about 107 percent since the introduction of Help to Buy in April 2013. About 60 percent of the company’s home sales are through the Help to Buy program, according to research by analysts at Liberum. The policy, which has already been extended once, was due to expire in 2021.”
“The number of households being moved out of London by councils has increased dramatically, rising by almost 50% in the first half of this year as town hall leaders blame rising homelessness, tightening public finances and a chronic lack of new cheap homes in the capital.
Councils have sent homeless households as far away as Glasgow, Newcastle and Cardiff in the last year, according to figures collected by local authorities and seen by the Guardian. Seven hundred and 40 households have been relocated to Kent, 574 to Essex, 30 to the West Midlands and 69 to Surrey.
More than 1,200 households were sent out of the capital in the first six months of this year – a 46% rise in the number of out-of-London placements. Six hundred and eighty-eight households were sent away between April and June alone, the highest rate in at least six years, up from 113 households in the first quarter of 2012-13. …”