Dominic Browne 05 January 2024

Two thirds of Housing Infrastructure Fund left unspent

Two thirds of Housing Infrastructure Fund left unspent image
Image: Radovan1 / Shutterstock.com.

Around two-thirds of the £4.2bn Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) remains unspent more than six years after its launch, despite the chronic shortage of housing, according to reports.

The HIF was launched in 2017 and was designed to boost housebuilding by providing local authorities with grant funding for key infrastructure such as transport and utility connections.

Councils were invited to bid for the grants, which are administered by the state housing body Homes England.

Highways has previously reported that rampant inflation had caused some projects to stall or be dropped even after government funding was agreed.

Now a Freedom of Information request submitted by local government researcher Jack Shaw and shared with the Financial Times shows that only £1.3bn of the pot – roughly 31% – has been spent. Most of that cash had been spent in 2021 and 2022.

The Government also confirmed that work had begun on fewer than one in 10 of the promised homes and it had slashed the HIF's delivery target from 340,000 to 270,000 homes.

In the summer the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), which monitors the status of major projects on behalf of the Government, gave the HIF a red rating, meaning its programme was thought to be 'unachievable'.

The UK faces a chronic housing shortage and is behind on meeting a government target to build 300,000 homes a year. Only 232,820 new dwellings were added last year, the Financial Times reported.

This article was originally published by Highways.

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