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Government ‘contradicting levelling up agenda’ with South East housing spending

The government is ‘directly contradicting its own levelling up agenda’ by investing three times more in new housing schemes in the South East as it is in the Midlands and in the Northern Powerhouse, according to analysis from Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The pressure group studied recent allocations from three government funds – the New Homes Bonus, the Housing Infrastructure Fund and the Home Building Fund – and found they are at three times the level in Greater London compared to the Midlands Engine ‘super-region’ (the former East and West Midlands government office regions) and the Northern Powerhouse (the former Government office regions of the North East, North West and Yorkshire & the Humber).

Total spend on these housing schemes in Greater London is also equal to both super-regions combined.

CPRE is calling for the government programmes supporting housing growth, in particular, the Housing Investment Fund and the New Homes Bonus, to be ‘fundamentally reformed’ so that there is a more explicit focus on regenerating deprived areas.

They believe there is scope to build nearly four times more new homes on suitable brownfield land in the Northern Powerhouse, and at least an equal number of homes on suitable brownfield sites in the Midlands Engine.

Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at CPRE: ‘This week the Chancellor is expected to outline his “big infrastructure” Budget aimed at levelling up forgotten parts of the country.

‘But the majority of investment to encourage and reward house building over the past three years has been spent in London and the South East. This is unacceptable as the housing crisis is not just affecting the South East but is holding back large parts of the country, including our rural communities across England.

‘If the Chancellor is serious about levelling up the country, he must reverse this imbalance immediately and put left-behind communities at the heart of his Budget. It is these communities who desperately need well-designed new places which can be delivered with a fairer share of housing investment from central government.’

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter

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