More government funding for new homes goes to London than the North and Midlands combined

12th Mar 2020

CPRE analysis reveals...

  • New analysis of government figures from CPRE, the countryside charity, shows the total spend on house building schemes in Greater London is more than the Midlands and the Northern Powerhouse combined.
  • Spending per person on these schemes over the past three years has run at over three times the level in Greater London (£85 per person) than in both the Midlands Engine ‘super-region’ (£24 pp) and the Northern Powerhouse (£28 pp).
  • CPRE is calling on the government to reform these house building schemes immediately and to use the upcoming Budget to invest a fairer share of funding in the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.

The government is investing three times more in new housing schemes in London and the South East as it is in the Midlands and in the Northern Powerhouse, according to new analysis from CPRE, the countryside charity. The schemes, which aim to promote and reward increased house building, are skewed towards London and the South East and directly contradict the government’s levelling up agenda.

Recent allocations from three Government funds – the New Homes Bonus, the Housing Infrastructure Fund and the Home Building Fund - are at three times the level in Greater London compared to the Midlands Engine ‘super-region’ (the former East and West Midlands government office regions) and the Northern Powerhouse (the former Government office regions of the North East, North West and Yorkshire & the Humber). Total spend on these housing schemes in Greater London is also equal to both super-regions combined.

Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

“This week the Chancellor is expected to outline his ‘big infrastructure’ Budget aimed at levelling up forgotten parts of the country. But the majority of investment to encourage and reward house building over the past three years has been spent in London and the South East. This is unacceptable as the housing crisis is not just affecting the South East but is holding back large parts of the country, including our rural communities across England.

“If the Chancellor is serious about levelling up the country, he must reverse this imbalance immediately and put left-behind communities at the heart of his Budget. It is these communities who desperately need well-designed new places which can be delivered with a fairer share of housing investment from central government.”

The New Homes Bonus – a grant paid by central government to local councils to reflect and incentivise housing growth in their areas – has shown some particularly stark contrasts since it was first launched in 2011, including:

  • Central Bedfordshire (pop.280,000) got more than Manchester (pop.545,000)
  • The London Borough of Barnet (392,140) got more than Liverpool (490,000)
  • Cambridge (125,000) got more than Newcastle (292,000)
  • Milton Keynes (267,000) got more than Sheffield (518,090)
  • South Oxfordshire (140,000) got more than Stoke (255,000)
  • Vale of the White Horse in Oxfordshire (population 130,000) got more than Hull (260,000)

To right this imbalance, CPRE is calling for the government programmes supporting housing growth, in particular the Housing Investment Fund and the New Homes Bonus, to be fundamentally reformed so that there is a more explicit focus on regenerating deprived areas. There is scope to build nearly four times more new homes on suitable brownfield land in the Northern Powerhouse, and at least an equal number of homes on suitable brownfield sites in the Midlands Engine.

To start ‘levelling up’ the government must start channelling a fairer share of central government funding to schemes in the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine to develop and build on brownfield sites and contribute to urban regeneration by building well designed homes that people can afford.

For further information, please contact:  Jonathan Jones, CPRE National Media Relations Lead, 020 7981 2819/ 078 3529 1907 

 

Notes

Oxford Cambridge Growth Arc. Spending decisions have favoured the Oxford Cambridge Growth Arc which is getting substantially more per capita than either the Midlands or the North, and more in real terms than the Midlands.

Housing Design Audit: Recent University College London research, commissioned by CPRE, has found that the quality of design in new housing is significantly poorer in the northern regions and in the eastern part of the Midlands. The current approach is not only regionally imbalanced, it is overlooking brownfield potential and is causing unnecessary damage to our urban and rural landscapes. The full Housing Design Audit can be found here: https://bit.ly/2TnTWV1

CPRE: For more information on CPRE’s position go to our website to view our manifesto in full:  https://www.cpre.org.uk/