New housing at a price

Published:  30 June, 2009

LONDON: Last night it emerged that the just under half the extra £1.5bn pledged by government for its house building programme will come from reallocation of existing spending.

Money from the communities department, including funds previously set aside for a social housing refurbishment programme, will be diverted to house building while another £300m will come from the transport department.

Gordon Brown's pledge to pump £2.1bn into building affordable homes will mean an additional 20 000 houses built over the next two years on top of the 90 000 already in the pipeline. The prime minister told the Commons yesterday he was tripling the £600m announced in the last budget for new council and housing association homes.

Two weeks ago a report by the Construction Products Association revealed the Government had missed a series of public-sector construction targets in areas such as housing, education and health.

The CPA said the plan to upgrade 95% of social housing to acceptable standards by 2010 was well behind schedule and more than 700 000 social homes, about 18% of the stock, are not up to scratch.

Plans to rebuild or improve the country's 3500 secondary schools by 2023 are also at risk after one-tenth of the project was not completed by 2008, as originally intended.

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