New £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund for councils will unlock building
A new Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) has opened for bids from English local authorities to help create the infrastructure needed to unlock house building.
Launched by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid at the recent Local Government Association Conference in Birmingham, the £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund has the potential to unlock 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand. The fund was originally announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.
The fund is available to councils to finance the physical infrastructure projects necessary to bring on housebuilding, such as bridges, roads and energy networks, which otherwise hold housebuilding back.
Investment will be available to fund new schools, healthcare facilities and digital infrastructure that is necessary for new communities, while alleviating pressure on existing public services.
Like much of current Government focus, there is an expectation on speed of delivery, with councils expected to move quickly from approvals to creating the infrastructure, swiftly followed by housing.
The HIF is part of the Government’s wider £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund, created to boost productivity, including construction, housing, transport and digital communications.
Speaking at the conference, Javid said: “To build the homes this country needs, we need to deliver the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time.
“By investing in local infrastructure, we can help unlock building thousands of new homes in the areas where they are needed most.”
LGA Chairman Lord Porter said: “Councils know their communities, and the places in them, best and so it’s right that approaches to invest in local infrastructure are led by local authorities.
“Going forward, what’s crucial is that the arrangements to access this fund are flexible, especially around different housing tenures, and that all councils can access funds to deliver housing for their communities.”
Applying for the Housing Infrastructure Fund
Councils can find out more online, including a ready reckoner to help review economic cases. The fund provides Marginal Viability Funding, in situations where a single piece of funding is holding back development, or Forward Funding, to enable councils to bring on projects that they would otherwise struggle to get off the ground.
The fund runs for four years, with applications for 2017/2018 funding encouraged immediately.
- Bids can be up to £10 million for Marginal Viability proposals.
- Bids can be up to £250 million for Forward Funding proposals