Jeremy Hunt Spring 2023 budget in summary

By Ruth Brown · 16 March 2023

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt shared the Spring 2023 budget yesterday. Here is a summary of the key announcements relevant to the housing sector:

  • £960m to support 12 investment zones around research hubs. £80m will be allocated over five years. The zones will benefit from tax incentives and bids will be expected to have an “ambitious” offer to accelerate planning.
  • £760m of funding for regeneration schemes and devolution of affordable housing funding to the mayors of Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.
  • £200m for 16 ‘high-quality’ regeneration projects in Wigan, Blackpool, Tendring, Kirklees, Telford and Wrekin, Salford, Waltham Forest, East Suffolk, Sandwell, Redcar and Cleveland, Tameside, Blackburn with Darwen, Wolverhampton, Northumberland, Rotherham and Northeast Lincolnshire.
  • £161m for high-value capital regeneration projects in city regions across England, including business premises and food science facilities in Tees Valley, and unlocking investment in a research campus in the Liverpool City Region
  • £400m for ‘levelling up partnerships’ for 20 areas of England the government considers are most in need of levelling up.
  • Up to £20bn in funding for the early development of carbon capture and storage
  • West Midlands and Greater Manchester Combined Authorities would get more control over affordable housing funding in their areas.
  • Bricklayers and plasterers are among five occupations being added to a list of roles which will benefit from relaxed visa rules in a bid to plug gaps in the workforce with overseas labour.

There have been many reactions from housing bodies and sector practitioners. The chancellor was criticised for not recommitting to housing targets, replacing Help to Buy and failing to make more funding available to make homes energy efficient. Some of the comments include:

Geeta Nanda, chair of the group of London housing associations the G15 and chief executive of MTVH, said: “On wider housing challenges, there was precious little in the chancellor’s statement.  It is now vital that the government works with us to help make progress on giving more people access to affordable homes that are safe, warm, and dry.”

Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “Housing was notable by its absence”. The CIH was also disappointed the chancellor left local housing allowance rates frozen at 2020 levels. 

Ben Woolman, director at property firm Woolbro Group, believed there was a “bewildering absence of support for first-time buyers”. He said the “obvious and overdue starting point” to help first-time buyers would be to replace the Help to Buy scheme, which is ending at the end of this month. Woolman added: “Secondly, it must renege on plans to make housing targets advisory only.” The Housing Secretary backtracked on keeping local targets as mandatory in December last year, which has led to several councils pausing their local plans as a result. 

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