The government has announced an £11.5bn Affordable Homes Programme. Stuart Black / Alamy Stock Photo

Levelling up means building more homes—and not just in the southeast

Building on brownfield land, supporting local buyers and boosting shared ownership will all play a part in getting people onto the housing ladder
November 3, 2021

Read more: The market won’t fix the housing crisis—empowering local communities will

Everyone deserves to live in a good quality property, and we know that most people want to own their own home. This government believes that they should have equal opportunity to do so—and that they should be able to buy at a price they can afford and in an area they are proud to call home.

This is levelling up. Spreading opportunity and prosperity, giving everyone a fair chance to thrive and succeed, no matter where they live. Last year, we built 244,000 new homes—the highest number for over 30 years—and we have pledged to deliver 300,000 homes each year by the mid-2020s to help many more people get on the property ladder. 

As the prime minister said at the Conservative Party conference, we want to focus housebuilding not on green fields and not just jammed in the southeast, but on brownfield sites in places where homes make sense, protecting our cherished green spaces. That’s why we’re regenerating unloved derelict sites—transforming empty buildings, disused garages and car parks into vibrant new communities for people to live. 

We are giving councils across the country almost £58m to build thousands of new homes on sites like this. In York, this funding will turn an old, unused library into affordable custom-built homes for disabled adults, with space for their live-in carers. In Worcester, an industrial estate near Shrub Hill station will be transformed into high-quality new housing.

Building more homes in the right places and helping young families realise the dream of homeownership are paramount if we are to preserve the lasting fabric of our neighbourhoods.

Levelling up means that we put an end to people having to move away from the places they work and grew up in because they have been priced out. I have been angered by stories of key workers unable to live in the communities they serve. Our first homes programme will see homes sold to first-time local buyers and key workers, with a discount of at least 30 per cent on the full market value, making deposits and mortgage requirements cheaper. The discount is passed on to future buyers, so the local community can benefit in the long term.

From Help to Buy and boosting shared ownership to the new 95 per cent mortgage guarantee scheme, we are providing an affordable route to homeownership for aspiring homeowners. We are turning Generation Rent into Generation Buy—so young people starting out on their careers across the country can have a place they can call their own.

And all these policies aren’t just helping people get onto the housing ladder. Our schemes are also creating tens of thousands of high-paying jobs right across the country. The £11.5bn Affordable Homes Programme alone is estimated to create 370,000 jobs. By investing in affordable housing, we are also supporting brickies and construction workers into jobs. That is levelling up in action.

We all want to live in communities with character, heritage and culture and that should be reflected in the buildings, streets, neighbourhoods, parks and places in which we spend our time. That’s why we have set an expectation that all councils should develop a local design code—an illustrated guide that sets the standard for a local area—with input from local people. 

Building beautiful houses in the right places at affordable prices, along with investment in our towns and high streets, is how we level up this country, create jobs and cement real and lasting change for this country.