First mentioned in the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement 2016, a housing White Paper was set to be published, detailing a long-term plan for UK housing supply.
With an aim to create a housing market that would work for everyone, the outline of the Paper was set out today (07/02/17) by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid.
Speaking to the House of Commons, Mr Javid commented on the current state of the UK housing market and the proposed plans that aim to alleviate the housing crisis.
He stated that behind the statistics that are so regularly quoted, it is important to remember the millions of ordinary working people who feel the symptoms of the market.
Although highlighting the successes of new home building in recent years, he stressed that “for too long, we have not built enough houses”.
Mr Javid went on to say that the UK needs more of the right type of houses in the right places, starting right now.
He emphasised the need for a coordinated effort by both the public and private sector; that there is no “single magic bullet”. Action should be taken on many fronts at the same time.
It was at this point that Mr Javid outlined the three key areas of the white paper and what they each involved.
These main areas of focus are outlined below:
- A new way of assessing housing need
> Ensuring each local area produced a realistic plan to be reviewed at least every 5 years
- Measures which assess appropriate places for development
> Not just empty spaces, but locations where homes are needed
- Continuing protection of green belt land
- More public sector land to be freed up more quickly
> Government should not land bank
- Increase transparency around land ownership
- People need to have their say in regards to homes built in their area
> Ensure communities are comfortable with appearance and design of new homes
Speeding up rate of building supply
- Unjustified delays will no longer be tolerated
- Make the planning system more open and accessible
- Improve investment and infrastructure
- Reduce delays
> caused by anything from “planning permission to great crested newts”
- Providing developers with a lot of help
- Give local authorities tools to hold developers to account if they fail to deliver
- Local authorities have a crucial role in supporting the building of homes
> Seeing how they can use compulsory purchase powers
> New housing delivery test
> Holding them to account for housebuilding across their local area
Diversifying the housing market
- Support small builders in entering the housing market
> Increase competition and innovation
> Build productivity growth
- Make it easier for smaller builders to compete
- Support innovative, efficient and underused construction methods
- Support housing associations to build more
- Explore options to help local authorities to build again
- Accelerated construction schemes on public sector land
- Encourage institutional investment in private rented sector
- Make life easier for custom builders who wish to build their own home
Mr Javid stated that these measures will make a “significant and lasting difference to our housing supply.”
He did, however, acknowledge that they would take time; people need help now.
He went on to highlight relevant areas regarding housing supply which also aim to improve the market but in a reduced time frame.
- Improve safeguards in private rented sector
- Do more to prevent homelessness
- Assist households who are currently priced out of the market
- Tackle unfair leasehold terms
- Work with rental sector in promoting three-year tenancy agreements
> this will assist families in putting down communal roots
Mr Javid went on to state that the main aim of the White Paper is to “help homeowners of tomorrow” and to ultimately fix the broken housing market.