Headlines: July 28th, 2009

Housing schemes across the country held up because of the recession could get a share of more than 900 million pounds of public money to get them back on track. The Government is stressing, however, that the move is not a handout to developers and that the help would come with tough terms attached.

The Housing Minister, John Healey, has named 270 stalled development projects that have been shortlisted for a share of 925 million pounds and said the money could help get building work on 22,400 homes underway and create 20,000 jobs. The projects have been identified by the Homes and Communities Agency through the Kickstart programme.

The Government expects when the allocations are made that more than a third of the money will go to housing associations and other bodies to help them manage affordable housing. Only about 18 per cent would be direct grant to support developers. More than 8,600 of the homes will be for affordable rent or sale and two thirds of them will surpass standards required by building regulations to cut CO2 emissions and reduce energy bills.

Mr. Healey said: “This is not a handout to developers. There are tough terms to this deal including repayment of loans within five years and only builders who accept a realistic current market price for their land are eligible. I want to see builders back on these sites within weeks. So I will be calling on successful developers to pull out all the stops so construction can restart as quickly as possible.”