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The UK’s annual Budget will be unveiled next week but ahead of the announcement the Building Societies Association has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking for urgent help for buyers. The BSA says that younger buyers in particular need concerted help to buy their first home and has suggested a way in which money could be raised to give it to them. The money raised by the government from the sale of the NS&I 65+ Pensioner Bonds, estimated to reach £15 billion by the current closure date of 15 May, could be used to offset an initial investment in affordable housing projects, the letters says. Specifically, the BSA letter says that this money could make a lasting difference if it was used as seed funding for perpetually affordable housing developments using a model such as a Community Land Trust. ‘Using the money raised from the Pensioner Bonds to make affordable housing available to young people seems a neat way for a scheme that benefits those 65 and over, to also help younger people who face such a chronic shortage of affordable housing,’ said Robin Fieth, BSA chief executive. The letter also calls for the government to boost the range of providers within the house building sector, including specific support for small to medium size builders, custom and self build builders and co-operative and shared housing models. ‘The UK’s volume house builders alone cannot alleviate the acute shortage of housing in the country,’ it adds. Next week, two days before the Budget, the BSA will launch its housing manifesto for the forthcoming general election which will include a call for the creation of a new housing ministry with a Secretary of State with a seat in the Cabinet. It says this would be better than the current situation when housing is spread among a variety of government departments. The BSA is also backing the idea of a cross political party 15 year plan for the UK’s housing market based on national and regional long term demographic changes, employment, environmental concerns and infrastructure. Continue reading →
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