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My hon. Friend highlights some of the important steps that have been taken and the impact that they are starting to have, but we know there is much more to do. We know that we need to be bolder and much more radical if we are to fix our broken housing market, make it fairer and match Harold Macmillan’s record by delivering the 300,000 homes a year that families and communities need. That ambition was set out back in 1951, and we will do it again.
This Budget does that and more. By building on the Chancellor’s commitment last year to a five-year, £44 billion housing programme, it reaffirms this Government’s commitment to restoring the dream of home ownership, most notably by securing the future of Help to Buy past 2021 and ensuring that the new scheme is targeted at first-time buyers, who need it most, and includes regional property price caps through to 2023. With most first-time buyers now exempt from paying stamp duty following last year’s Budget, benefiting more than 120,000 buyers so far, this year’s Budget went a step further by extending that relief to all first-time buyers of shared ownership properties worth up to £500,000 and making it retrospective. That is good news for anyone who aspires to own their own home.
Ultimately, however, there is no way we can help more families to get on to the housing ladder without getting Britain building and getting local authorities to play their part. That is why the Chancellor’s confirmation that we are removing the biggest barrier—the Government cap on how much councils can borrow to build more—is such a game changer. It will free up councils to deliver around 10,000 homes a year. It has been great to see how warmly this has been welcomed by councils up and down the country, and how ambitious they are about making the most of this opportunity to deliver the next generation of council housing. We are also supporting housing associations to deliver at scale and pace, with the Chancellor’s announcement of the next wave of deals with nine housing associations, worth £653 million, which will deliver a further 13,000 affordable housing starts by March 2022.