Leeds wins praise for biting bullet on housing

VISIT: Philip Hammond at Seacroft Hospital with Tom Riordan, of Leeds City Council, and Nick Walkley, of Homes and Communities.
VISIT: Philip Hammond at Seacroft Hospital with Tom Riordan, of Leeds City Council, and Nick Walkley, of Homes and Communities.
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CHANCELLOR PHILIP Hammond has praised Leeds for being ready to “bite the bullet” and build hundreds of new homes.

Mr Hammond visited the city as Leeds looks set to become one of the first areas in the country to strike a ‘housing deal’ with the Government.

Housing deals will see the Government give help to areas with ambitious plans to building new social housing.

Mr Hammond travelled to Seacroft to see a housing development already taking shape with support from the Government’s housing arm, the Homes and Communities Agency.

Details of the housing deal are expected to be confirmed in Mr Hammond’s Budget later this year.

He told the YEP: “It’s basically a way of marrying up the Government’s ambition to see higher levels of housing completions with the willingness of some authorities to be pro-active in trying to kickstart housing development.

“Where we have got an authority that is willing to do it - and it’s not without its political challenges building more houses - but where we’ve got an authority that is willing to bite that bullet a housing deal allows the Government to get behind them , using the powers it has, planning capacity it has and, of course, money to ensure those units are built.”

Social housing built through housing deals will be made available for sale after 10 or 15 years with the money raised used to construct more homes.

Tenants living in homes built as part of the scheme will have an automatic right to buy the property when it becomes available.

‘NO DECISION’ ON RAIL UPGRADE

The GOVERNMENT is looking at “different options” for improving rail journeys between Leeds and Manchester, Philip Hammond said.

The Chancellor was responding to criticism directed at the Government after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling suggested the trans-Pennine rail link would not be electrified despite previous promises.

Mr Hammond said no decision had been taken and the priority was to secure “a result for passengers”.

Scalextric electric car racing set. PIC: PA

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