The funding, which for the first time saw cash handed to contractors as well as housing associations, formed part of a £1.28bn tranche of first round grant awards under the 2016-21 Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme.

Among the housing contractors securing Government support for the first time Kier bagged nearly £42m to deliver 1,378 homes, plus 335 associated but non-funded affordable homes..

Galliford Try was awarded almost £19m for 530 affordable homes, Keepmoat bagged nearly £18m for 439 homes and Lovell secured over £11m for 420 homes.

Private builder Westleigh Developments was also allocated £48m of grant to build 1,590 new homes under the programme.

The first round of cash hand-outs were unveiled as the Government invited bids for a further £4.7bn of funding to increase the supply of new shared ownership and affordable homes.

The pot of cash consists in part of £1.3bn not allocated at the initial SOAHP bid round and an extra £1.4bn announced in the Autumn statement to deliver a further 40,000 affordable homes.

The Government is encouraging bids from organisations other than housing associations and is encouraging off-site construction solutions.

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:”We’ve reformed the rules to make these homes available to the widest possible range of buyers – and to make the capital grants open to widest possible range of developers and housing providers.

“We also aim to encourage innovation – both in partnerships for local housing delivery and in the use of advanced construction technologies.”