Welsh Government announces extra Help to Buy a home

Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has announced it is investing up to £290 million in the second phase of Help to Buy.

Between 2016 – 2021, the funding will aim to support the construction of more than 6,000 additional new Welsh homes, significantly boosting Wales’ building industry and making home ownership achievable for thousands more families.

This second phase of Help to Buy – Wales builds on the success of the current £174 million scheme, which has already helped around 2,400 people buy their home, with another 650 applications in the pipeline.

Wales’ housing sector continues to go from strength to strength, with recent statistics showing that during 2014-15, a total of 6,955 new homes were started, which is a rise of 20 per cent on the previous year.

Announcing the scheme at St Lythans Park in Cardiff, Communities Minister, Lesley Griffiths, said:”Today’s £290 million investment clearly demonstrates this Government’s commitment to encouraging housebuilding and helping people achieve their goal of owning their own home.

“We are seeing sustained growth in Wales’ house building industry and today’s announcement will strengthen this further by increasing the supply of low-deposit mortgages available to people looking to buy a new home.

This is a huge boost to the Welsh construction industry, and our economy as a whole, which will provide thousands of new jobs and training opportunities for people across Wales.”

Lovell appointed to £100m maintenance framework

Lovell appointed to £100m housing framework

Lovell has been appointed to carry out Whole House Framework, worth up to £100 million over a four-year period.

Through the framework – which adopts a whole house approach to planned maintenance – Lovell will be eligible to bid to carry out housing repair programmes for public sector organisations across the UK, including local authorities and housing associations.

Drawing on a strong record of achievement in planned maintenance and housing regeneration work, Lovell has been appointed to nine out of the national framework’s eleven lots.

The maintenance work covered includes the installation of new kitchens, bathrooms, windows and doors, roofing work, heating, and internal and external repairs.

Gary Stanfield, framework manager at Fusion21, says: “It’s fantastic that Lovell has been appointed to nine lots on this popular framework – joining other contractors who have successfully passed rigorous cost and quality assessments as part of the tender process.

The framework now offers customers the opportunity to call off multiple lots, and will generate greater efficiency savings for public sector organisations across the country.”

The appointment is the latest in a number of high-profile housing maintenance successes for Lovell this year, including its appointment by Chevin Housing Association, a member of the Together Housing Group, to carry out £20 million of improvement work for homes across Yorkshire over the next two years.

New Housing Zones and jobs planned for London

Housing Zones will bring accelerated house building to areas across London with high potential for growth and new jobs in the construction trades.

About Housing Zones

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, invited bids for the development of 20 Housing Zones from London boroughs as part of his Housing Strategy.

A total of £400 million in funding was made available by the Mayor and government for the construction of 50,000 new homes.

The programme will also provide 100,000 associated jobs over the next ten years.

The building of homes in these areas will be supported by a range of planning and financial measures. All Housing Zones will be set up by an agreement which shares the duty of building these homes between partners. This will ensure the numbers of planned new homes are built.

How the funding will benefit the zones

These 20 zones will collectively provide:

  • more than £21 billion of investment

  • over 120,000 construction jobs

  • over 53,000 new homes, of which around a third will be affordable

  • major station upgrades

  • new schools

  • new bridges

  • new community amenities such as sports centres, libraries, parks and health centres

More information on the first

Carillion announces new business worth around £1bn

Carillion logo

Carillion has been awarded new contracts with an estimated total value of around £1 billion that will boost exonmic growth and create new jobs.

These include new facilities management contracts or contract extensions in the UK for Direct Line Group, Verizon and Virgin Media.

Carillion Joint Ventures are also in one-to-one negotiations to deliver further support services work for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and for Openreach to deliver a substantial proportion of its Superfast Extension Programme to extend Superfast Broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by the end of 2017.

In construction, Carillion has secured preferred delivery partner positions and new contracts worth over £550 million.

These include further projects for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, together with projects for the Paradise Circus Limited Partnership in Birmingham and the Kings Cross Central Limited Partnership in London.

Commenting, Carillion Chief Executive, Richard Howson, said: ”I am pleased to say that the pace of work winning in the second half of the year has continued to pick up, as we expected.

Much of the £1 billion of new work announced today reflects our continuing success in winning repeat work for long-term customers, consistent with our selective approach to contracts and margins.

We also continue to see some improvements in market conditions, especially in the UK, and following the UK Government’s spending review, we expect to see further opportunities for outsourcing and capital projects over the medium term”.

Massive boost to rail services brings Northern Powerhouse to life

Rail journeys across England will undergo the biggest transformation in decades, thanks to improvements being delivered in new franchise deals, the government announced today.

The scheme will play a vital role in bringing the Northern Powerhouse to life, rebalancing the economy, creating jobs, opportunity and growth, and providing significantly better journeys across the region.

The government has announced it intends to award the Northern franchise to Arriva Rail North Limited, and the TransPennine Express franchise to First Trans Pennine Express Limited.

Together they will oversee a massive £1.2 billion boost to rail services with brand-new modern trains, more seats, more services and a host of improvements to deliver a modern, 21st century passenger experience.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We promised passengers a world class rail service that would make the Northern Powerhouse a reality – and I’m delighted that we have found 2 operators that will deliver exactly that.

As a one nation government we are committed to closing the economic gap between north and south. This deal, and the joint management of the franchises, will bring the Northern Powerhouse to life.”

New garden towns to create thousands of new homes

Two new garden towns are being supported with £1.1 million of new funding that will help deliver thousands of homes for aspiring homeowners.

Didcot in Oxfordshire and North Essex will be home to new communities that between them are set to provide up to 50,000 new homes, supported by new infrastructure.

The proposals, which have been supported by local leaders, include plans for an additional 15,000 homes by 2031 in Greater Didcot Garden Town and new Garden Communities in North Essex with up to 35,000 new homes.

The money will fund initial work that will enable high quality homes, new transport improvements, good schools, jobs and community amenities to be delivered in a strategic and sustainable way.

Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis said: “I’ve been really impressed by the level of ambition and vision shown by Didcot and North Essex and their determination to deliver new sustainable communities.

We are determined to support communities that are eager to boost the number of homes in their areas to meet local need and this money will help get work up and running quicker.”

The minister heard first-hand how the money will help kick-start work during a visit to Didcot on Monday.

More people helped into home ownership

The new garden towns announcement comes as the Prime Minister today said that Shared Ownership will open the door to 175,000 more aspiring homeowners.

Radical changes to Shared Ownership rules will remove old fashioned barriers to home ownership.

Those already in a shared ownership property will be able to move to another shared ownership home – putting an end to restrictions that stopped them using the scheme more than once.

The re-invigorated scheme will allow these homeowners to use the capital they have gained to move to a bigger property, as their families grow or circumstances change.

The measures are part of the government’s commitment to creating 1 million more homeowners over the next five years.

Small business employment up by more than 1.6 million

Latest government figures show that employment by small businesses has increased by 1,618,000 over the last 5 years, generating £1.2 trillion for the economy.

Since 2010, private sector employment has grown by nearly 2.5 million and small businesses accounted for 65% of this.

These figures demonstrate the contribution small businesses have made to the nation’s record employment rate of 73.7%.

Employment Minister Priti Patel, said: “Every day small enterprises run by hardworking people like the local barber or café owner, are helping to create jobs and opportunities for others.

Government is firmly on the side of small businesses. Our New Enterprise Allowance, for example, has helped on average 70 new businesses start every working day.

This news coincides with Small Business Saturday – a campaign that celebrates small enterprises and the role that they play in strengthening local communities and generating economic growth. It culminates today with various public events and visits by members of government to small businesses across the country.”

Small Business Minister Anna Soubry, said: “Our 5 million small businesses are the beating heart of our economy, providing millions of people across the country with the security of a job.

I urge everyone to get out there today and support your small businesses, whether that be your local baker, hairdresser, mechanic or independent pub. And of course, your local high street is a great place to start any Christmas shopping.”

Highest increase in affordable house building for 22 years

The numbers of affordable homes being built are growing at their fastest rate since 1993, new figures this week show.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said this was further proof of the government’s commitment to get more homes built while boosting the construction industry.

The latest figures show 66,640 new affordable homes were delivered in the last year – 55% higher than the previous year.

It meant the numbers of social and affordable rented homes increased by nearly two-thirds, and the number of affordable homes to buy rose by 41% over the same time period.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “Today’s figures show how far we’ve come to get the country building, bringing the industry back from the brink to deliver the highest annual increase in affordable housebuilding for over 2 decades.

But we are far from complacent and the doubling of government investment in housebuilding announced at the recent Spending Review reaffirms our commitment to deliver a million new homes by 2020.

Affordable homes to rent and buy are a key part of that, helping to give young people and families across the country the best possible start in life.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Our housebuilding efforts are paying off and can be seen by this considerable increase in the number of affordable homes built in just one year.

This is real progress but there is more to do. That’s why we are going further and increasing our investment in these homes to ensure many more hard-working people can benefit.”

Building more affordable homes

Housebuilding is a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan.

Today’s figures mean that over 270,000 new affordable homes have been delivered since 2010.

At the

30,000 affordable homes target delivered in Scotland

The number of social sector homes across Scotland completed in the past year has increased by 10 per cent, according to official statistics figures released this week.

The latest housing figures also give a breakdown of how 30,133 affordable homes – 133 more than the 30,000 target set by the Scottish Government – have been delivered ahead of schedule, and show the number of social rented homes and council homes have also been exceeded.

The Scottish Government has pledged to invest at least £3 billion to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years. The extra homes are expected to support, on average, around 20,000 new jobs per year and generate in excess of £10 billion in economic activity over the course of the Parliament.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Housing is a key priority for this government, and these statistics show we have exceeded our target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes.

I’m pleased to see an increase in the number of social sector homes completed in the past year and that private sector starts are also up on last year’s figures.

High quality, energy efficient, affordable homes form the cornerstone of socially and economically sustainable communities. We have worked hard with the housing sector to deliver these homes as well as develop innovative funding initiatives, such as government guarantees, loans, grant recycling and new sources of private funding, to help both buyers and developers.”

Balfour Beatty wins £130m London residential scheme

Balfour Beatty wins £130m London residential scheme

Balfour Beatty has been selected to deliver the pre-construction services contract for a £130 million renovation and new-build scheme in St James’ Park, London.

Construction is due to start in early 2016 following full contract award and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.

Balfour Beatty will collaborate with the London-based development company Northacre and Palace Revive Development Ltd to deliver pre-construction services including programming and procurement, in the lead up to the full construction contract award which is expected in early 2016.

The full scheme will involve refurbishment of the existing six-storey listed building, construction behind retained facades and a complex four-storey basement build.

Once complete, the development will house 72 apartments, many of which offer unique views over the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

Residents will also enjoy more than 10,000 sq. ft. of leisure facilities, including a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pool and a wellness centre. The site will encompass five architectural styles, ranging from French Renaissance to Contemporary, with a Grade II listed retained façade.

Dean Banks, Balfour Beatty Managing Director of the UK Construction business, said: “Our proven ability to succeed in constrained construction environments in busy city centres means we are well suited to this prestigious project and we look forward to securing the full contract award early next year.

Balfour Beatty is committed to delivering first-class projects with selected partners that utilise our industry leading expertise and our work on this luxury residential build is a prime example of this.”