Daily Archives: July 6, 2010

Jim Pickard

John Healey, shadow housing minister, reckons that £450m has already been chopped from the government’s spending on housing since the election. That, he says, will cost about 6,000 new homes and a similar number of jobs.

Some free market Tory MPs may want to go even further. Why not cut the entire “National Affordable Housing Programme”, designed to produce more social housing* via grants to housing associations? The NAHP also provides five different “HomeBuy” schemes which subsidise first-time buyers and low-income workers to purchase homes.

Saving

DCLG has £6.2bn a year of capital spending, most of which goes towards housing. The National Affordable Housing Programme is £2.48bn of that in the current year.

The case for keeping it

Key workers and first-time buyers struggle to afford their own home after UK house prices soared in the last decade. That can have a damaging impact on labour markets. With councils having failed to build many new houses in recent years, housing associations have taken up the slack. 

Jim Pickard

I revealed last month that there were growing concerns within the rail industry that the £7.5bn order for new Hitachi trains to replace the ageing Inter-City fleet could be put on hold or cancelled.

Andrew Foster, former head of the Audit Commission, was asked in February (by Lord Adonis) to examine the case for the contract. 

Jim Pickard

Sir Alan Budd stepping down from Office for Budget Responsibility at the end of the month

Rachel Sylvester: Ministers try to find ways to raid the “ring-fenced” health budget