The Government’s long awaited White Paper was published on 7 February setting out how it proposes to fix a broken housing market.
The PM says “Our broken housing market is one of the greatest barriers to progress in Britain today”.
The Secretary of State Sajid Javid added that since the 1970s, there have been on average 160,000 new homes each year in England. The consensus is that we need from 225,000 to 275,000 or more homes per year to keep up with population growth and start to tackle years of under‑supply.
So how do the Government aim to reform the system
- The need to plan for the right homes in the right places.
- The need to build homes faster.
- The need to diversify the housing market,
- The need to help people now
Inevitably the proposed reforms involve a raft of “sticks and carrots”
Step 1 Planning for the right homes in the right places
- Making sure every part of the country has an up-to-date, sufficiently ambitious plan.
- Clarification on the way Objectively Assessed Housing Need is calculated
- Maximising the contribution from brownfield sites and surplus public sector
- Despite much speculation in the press, green belt boundaries should only be amended in exceptional circumstances and existing strong protections will be maintained.
- Making better use of land for housing by encouraging higher densities, where appropriate, such as in urban locations where there is high housing demand; and by reviewing space standards.
Step 2 Building Homes Faster
- Ensuring infrastructure is provided in the right place at the right time by coordinating Government investment and through the targeting of the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund
- Introduction of new housing delivery test to address issue of Councils falling behind actual housing delivery targets
- Reducing the time limit for starting development from 3 years to 2 years
Step 3 Diversifying the market
- Backing small and medium-sized builders to grow, including through the Home Building Fund;
- A shift in emphasis from Starter Homes to a more balanced housing provision including a minimum 10% affordable homes on all sites
- Bringing in new contractors through the Accelerated Construction programme that can build homes more quickly than traditional builders;
- Supporting housing associations and local authorities to build more homes; and
- Boosting productivity and innovation by encouraging modern methods of construction in house building.
Step 4: Helping people now
- Continuing to support people to buy their own home – through Help to Buy and Starter Homes;
- Helping households who are priced out of the market to afford a decent home that is right for them through a new Affordable Homes Programme;
- Making renting fairer for tenants;
- Encouraging the development of housing that meets the needs of our future population;
- Helping the most vulnerable who need support with their housing, developing a sustainable and workable approach to funding supported housing in the future; and
- Doing more to prevent homelessness by supporting families before they reach crisis point
The White Paper covers a huge canvass and as the Minister of Housing tweeted there is no silver bullet within the Paper.
The general sentiment is to encourage developers to build and for Councils to help in this process.
Of course the devil is in the detail and this will not be the final blueprint
Comments on the White Paper are invited by 2 May