Autumn Budget 2017 - housing and public services

In this, the last of five articles on the budget, we focus on measures relating to housing and public services.


Stamp duty land tax – the price at which a property becomes liable to SDLT will rise to £300,000 for first-time buyers, provided the price of the property in question is no more than £500,000.

Planning for more homes – the government will consult on amending policy so that land is taken out of a plan if there is no prospect of a planning application. Planning authorities will be directed to produce joint statutory plans where these are not in place. There will be a consultation on a new policy whereby local authorities will be expected to permission land outside their plan (but not in the green belt) where a high proportion of houses will be offered at a discount to first-time buyers or for affordable rent. The government will also consult on introducing minimum densities for housing development in city centres and around transport hubs, policy changes for the conversion of space above high street shops, policy changes to make it easier to convert retail and employment land into housing, and a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with houses.

Using land released for housing – the government will consult on strengthening the housing delivery test by setting the threshold at which the presumption in favour of development applies at 75% of housing delivery by 2020; expecting local authorities to bring forward 20% of their housing supply as small sites; and removing the exemptions from the deemed discharge rules.

Review of build-out – Sir Oliver Letwin will chair a review panel to make recommendations for closing the gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned.

Register of planning permissions – a central register of residential planning permissions will be developed.

Developer contributions – there will be a consultation on proposals to remove the restriction of section 106 pooling towards a single piece of infrastructure in certain circumstances; accelerate the process of setting and revising the community infrastructure levy (CIL); allowing authorities to set rates which better reflect the uplift in land values between a proposed and an existing use; changing indexation of CIL rates to house-price inflation, rather than build costs; and giving combined authorities and joint committees with statutory plan-making functions the option to levy a strategic infrastructure tariff in addition to the CIL.

Land Assembly Fund – £1.1 billion will be provided for this new fund, to enable Homes England to develop strategic sites.

New garden towns – public and private capital will be brought together to build five new garden towns.

The Housing Infrastructure Fund – a further £2.7 billion will be invested to support new housing in high-demand areas.

Strategic planning in the South East – the government will support more strategic and zonal planning approaches through housing deals in the South East, starting with a housing deal with Oxfordshire providing 100,000 homes by 2031 in return for £150 million support for infrastructure.

Small sites: infrastructure and remediation – a further £630 million will be provided to accelerate housebuilding on small sites by funding infrastructure and remediation.

Home Building Fund – a further £1.5 billion will be provided for loans supporting small and medium-sized enterprises needing finance to build.

Housing guarantees – options will be explored to create £8 billion of new guarantees.

Affordable housing – the further £2 billion announced in October is confirmed, and housing revenue account borrowing caps for local authorities in areas of high affordability pressure will be lifted to a total amount of up to £1billion by 2022.

Estate regeneration – £400 million of loan funding will be provided.

Construction skills – £34 million will be provided to scale-up innovative training models, and a construction sector deal will support innovation and skills in the sector, including investment of £170 million.

Grenfell Tower – £28 million additional community support to the victims is provided.

Homelessness – the Homelessness Reduction Taskforce is launched, with the aim of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it by 2027. £28 million will be invested in three Housing First pilots to support rough sleepers in Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands. £20 million will be provided for schemes to enable people at risk of homelessness to access and sustain private tenancies.

Renters – the government will consult on the barriers to landlords offering longer, more secure tenancies. Targeted affordability funding will be increased by £40 million in 2017–19 and £85 million in 2019–20 to enable housing benefit awards to be increased in certain areas where private rents have been rising fastest.

Public services

Health – £6.3 billion additional funding for the NHS in England will be provided, including additional resource funding of £2.8 billion to increase capacity and reduce waiting times. Pay awards for staff on the Agenda for Change contract will be funded, conditional on improved productivity. £3.5 billion of new capital funding will be allocated to enable local groups of NHS organisations to deliver transformation schemes, support turnarounds in individual trusts facing the biggest challenges, and support efficiency programmes. Improvements will be made to the way in which NHS trusts use capital funding. A green paper will set out reforms to mental health services for children and  young people. Additional funding of £42 million will be provided for the disabled facilities grant to enable people to stay in their own homes.

Universal credit – more support will be provided to claimants by enabling those who need it to access up to a month’s worth of universal credit within five days by way of an interest-free advance, with the period of recovery extended to twelve months from January 2018. The seven-day waiting period will be removed from February 2018. Those on housing benefit will continue to receive their award for the first two weeks of their universal credit claim from April 2018, and the government will make it easier for claimants to have the housing element paid directly to their landlord.

State pension and pension credit – the basic state pension will be increased by the triple lock, a rise of 3% in April 2018. There will be a similar increase in the standard minimum guarantee, funded by an increase in the savings credit threshold. The full new state pension will also be increased by the triple lock.

Benefit fraud and error – investment will be made in the better use of data so that fraudulent and error-related payments are reduced.

Relationship support – funding will be provided for relationship support work to keep families together and reduce parental conflict.

Public sector productivity – the government will implement the central recommendation of the Barber Review to introduce a new public value framework to measure how effectively public spending improves people’s lives. A GovTech Catalyst will give businesses and innovators a clear access point to government. £20 million will be provided over three years for a GovTech Fund to enable procurement of innovative products through the Small Business Research Initiative run by Innovate UK. A balance sheet review will aim to make more effective use of government assets and liabilities. The government will build capability in workforce planning, management and monitoring. A Public Sector Leadership Academy will create networks and share best practice. In public sector pay, the government will move away from the 1% basic pay award policy, ensuring the overall pay award is fair.

For our other articles on the budget, see here.

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