Housing White Paper: what you need to know

The white paper outlines a new Lifetime ISA to help first-time buyers save for a deposit
The white paper outlines a new Lifetime ISA to help first-time buyers save for a deposit

08 February, 2017

There were some general indicators of where the government is going on housing, however.

Keith Boyfield, a co-author of the Pink Planning series, says "We particularly welcome the invitation in the Housing White Paper for comments on our ideas relating to streamlined planning procedures which we term "Pink Zones" (A.58, Page 84)".

Smee agreed with this prediction and told the forum audience that he expected Theresa May's shift away from the previous government's attitude of "housing ownership good and tenancy bad" to be confirmed in the White Paper.

"We want to see these small builders and property investors at the front of the queue to purchase public land and we look forward to opportunities to work with government to get public finance into the hands of these developers".

The Government then seems to have grasped the scale.

Additionally, the white paper has opened up the 2016 to 2021 Affordable Homes Programme, relaxing restrictions on funding so providers can build a range of homes including for affordable rent.

They will also have to increase the density of new homes in cities and build upwards where there is a shortage of land.

Speaking to the House of Commons, communities secretary Sajid Javid said: 'At present around 60 per cent of new homes are built by just 10 companies. This includes Rent to Buy homes alongside shared ownership.

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Smaller building firms will be given assistance to expand, including support for off-site construction, where parts of homes are assembled in a factory. At Essex we have already given a Cabinet Member a portfolio responsibility for housing - something the Government should embed into legislation as a statutory responsibility of county-level councils across the country.

On Sunday, Housing minister Gavin Barwell admitted the government was behind schedule on its goal of building one million new homes in England by 2020 and said the latest figures on affordable homes built - which reached a 24-year low - were "embarrassing". "It's interesting to see the reduction from three to two years for implementation of planning permissions as this will encourage construction and discourage land banking, and I believe this will have an impact on the design approach to some schemes". He also acknowledged that house prices had far outstripped incomes and that this country's housing crisis was a serious "barrier to social mobility". Increased diversity in the organisations that are delivering new housing is crucial to improving the choice and quality of housing being built, as well as boosting the industry's ability to deliver on Government targets.

The policy document will include measures to encourage "build to rent" developers, and to ensure more secure longer-term tenancies are more widely available in the private sector. It estimates that now around 60% of new homes are built by just 10 companies.

Former minister Andrew Mitchell, MP for Sutton Coldfield, said large numbers of homes had been approved for green belt land in the West Midlands without any objection from Government.

From April, the Government will introduce a Lifetime ISA to help young adults save for a deposit with a 25% bonus on up to £4,000 of savings a year and Right to Buy will also be extended for housing association tenants.

"We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to fix the broken housing market problems and help them find a home of their own".

He also stated that the government has not given up on making home ownership a reality for all.

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