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Housing misses out, says Modern Masonry Alliance

Chancellor George Osborne didn’t go far enough to help the housing industry in his Autumn Statement last week.

That’s according to construction industry association the Modern Masonry Alliance, which says the housing industry has missed out on a share of the Chancellor’s £5bn extra capital spending pot.

Last week the Chancellor said recent measures set out in the housing strategy would support the construction of 120,000 new homes. However, he stopped short of making any fresh spending pledges to support the house building industry directly.

Infrastructure – mainly the roads industry and school building – came out as the big winners, despite the Government’s previous pledge to make tackling the housing crisis a priority.

Four major roads schemes on the A1, A5, A30 and M25 will get £1bn and a further £1bn will be directed at expanding ‘good schools’ and 100 free schools and academies.

The MMA says that the lack of support for housing deals a body blow to the building manufacturing industry, which is closing down plants and works as demand falls sharply.

Mike Leonard, SEO of the Modern Masonry Alliance commented, “The Chancellor has missed a golden opportunity to drive jobs and growth through investment in public rented homes.

“We will continue to fight for this investment which is vital to those waiting for homes, building material manufacturers and UK PLC.

The Government did confirm it would be spending £190m to de-risk and speed up the public sector land sell-off.

To support both housing and commercial development and jobs, the Government also said it planned to release a further £683m through capital grants and financial transactions.

In England, this will see £474m ploughed into improving local infrastructure, which should help to stimulate housing development.

As already announced last month £225m will be release to unlock stalled large housing projects, supporting around 50,000 homes.

Leonard said; “”The investment in schools will only pay real dividends if we ensure they are built from materials made in the UK. If this money goes to fund foreign imports the Chancellor will be supporting the further decline of our building materials manufacturers which are vital to the future of the UK economy.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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