In Phillip Hammond’s Budget Report last week, he said that the Government has agreed an outline Housing and Growth Agreement with the Oxfordshire Growth Board.
This deal would provide councils with £215m over 5 years, with £60m for affordable housing and £150m (£30m pa for 5 yrs) for infrastructure. It also includes £5m for capacity funding, including progressing the Joint Spatial Plan for the county.
Rather a drop in the ocean compared to the £8.5billion funding gap outlined in their own recent Infrastructure Strategy!
In return, our local authorities have committed to providing the 100,000 houses by 2031, as outlined in the Oxfordshire SHMA 2014. This is despite the new proposed OAN methodology showing that the current figures grossly over-exaggerate local need.
We haven’t seen anything of this deal until now – we certainly didn’t vote for it – and yet it seems, in true Growth Board fashion, to have been already agreed (subject to the councils individually signing it off).
There is precious little further detail so we will have to wait and see what the real implications are as things become clearer over the next few weeks. For example, it is not at all clear as yet exactly what infrastructure this funding is proposed to cover. There may be things to welcome… or not!
We note that ‘Final agreement of the deal with Government will be subject to agreement by all six councils and OxLEP’ so there may be an opportunity for some campaigning/lobbying on the finer details, but clearly our local authorities will see this as good news.
See: Oxfordshire Growth Board Press Release, 22 November.
See: Budget Report, 22 November.