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UK housing minister unveils details of new build plans

Six weeks before the budget, and less than three months since the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister launched the government's flagship Housing Strategy, Shapps unveiled a range of measures to help first time buyers onto the housing ladder, provide support for millions who have been left languishing on social housing waiting lists and get construction on the move.

In a speech to councils and the housing sector, the Minister argued that in contrast to the experiences of the past, where a plethora of housing policies, papers and initiatives ‘gathered dust on Whitehall shelves’, the determination of the Prime Minister and the government to put housing centre stage has meant that tangible progress is already being made with plenty more moves on the way.

Shapps said that he has already identified enough Government land to build 80,000 homes, and is now working with organisations including the BBC, Network Rail and the Royal Mail to find even more unused sites for house building meaning Ministers are on course to release enough land for 100,000 homes by 2015.

He also revealed the details of the NewBuy Guarantee scheme to help those aspiring to buy newly built properties to do so with just a fraction of the deposit that's normally required. Under the NewBuy Guarantee scheme which will start next month a £10,000 deposit will be enough for new build property rather than the more usual £40,000.

Shapps confirmed that the scheme will be open to UK citizens buying new build houses and flats up to £500,000 as their main home whether they are first time buyers or moving up the ladder.

He also confirmed £432 million in cash bonuses for 353 councils that have built new homes or have brought back into use empty properties including a £21 million premium for new affordable homes.

The Minister also confirmed that he will allocate £45 million funding to help unlock 18 of the most difficult stalled sites in the country to get workers back on site and 1,301 homes built whilst delivering positive regeneration benefits to those locations.

The funding forms part of the £420 million Get Britain Building fund. Launched less than two months ago, this multi million pound cash injection is expected to unlock up to 16,000 homes on sites that are currently stalled, and help create up to 30,000 jobs in construction and related industries.

Shapps also confirmed proposals to bring outdated protections for leaseholders back in line with changing property prices. He proposes to raise the £25,000 value limit, or notional annual rental value, outpaced by house price inflation since it was set in 1990, to £100,000, enabling many leaseholders to stay in their home when their lease comes to an end.