Budget 2021: £2bn for new homes on derelict or unused land

Almost £2bn will be invested by the government into building new homes on derelict or unused land in England, the chancellor is expected to announce in Wednesday’s Budget.

BBC News www.bbc.co.uk

The government said 160,000 greener homes could be built on brownfield land the size of 2,000 football pitches.

It also pledged to invest £9m towards 100 urban “pocket parks” across the UK.

However, concerns have been raised that not enough affordable homes are being built.

Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal and General, told the BBC’s Today programme the £1.8bn investment was the “right direction of travel”, but was “not enough scale right now”.

He warned people living in smaller cities and towns were being “left behind” due to not enough homes being constructed.

“You shouldn’t have to be rich to be green,” he said. “It’s very difficult for poorer people to get on the green (housing) ladder.

“There’s a lot of active listening going on (by the government), but we don’t just want CGI housing – we want real housing built across the UK.”

The government said the funding was part of its efforts to meet the UK’s net zero target by 2050.

It hopes the plans will help regenerate parts of England and support 50,000 new jobs.

The proposals also include creating so-called “pocket parks” – measuring the size of a tennis court – to create more green spaces.

More than 2.5 million people across the UK currently live further than a 10 minute walk from their closest green space.

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for housing, said people buying new homes would be “forced to fork out thousands to upgrade their homes in the future to cut their bills and reduce emissions”.

“In his Budget, the chancellor should bring forward new standards for greener homes to ensure all new homes are cheap to heat and produce minimal emissions,” he said.

The Labour Party and Green Party have not responded to requests for comment.

As well as funding for new housing developments, the chancellor is expected to confirm £65m to develop new software to help with the digitisation of the town planning system.

The first phase will see the system rolled out to up to 175 local authorities in England.

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