Industry welcomes Building More Homes report

Building more homesThe industry has welcomed the recommendations contained in the Building More Homes report published by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee as it criticises current private sector-focussed policy.

The report highlights the increasingly acute shortage of housing, suggesting that a realistic target to meet housing need would see at least 300,000 new homes provided each year, and comes alongside the announcement of a new Minister of State for Housing and Planning.

It suggests that the current model of incentivising the larger private sector developers to increase their supply will not achieve this end and criticises Government policy for focusing on home ownership while neglecting other forms of tenure.

A number of positive recommendations propose changes that could help address the issue including lifting borrowing restriction on local authorities and housing associations; empowering local authorities to raise council tax on development that are not completed within a set time period; simplifying planning to encourage small builders and giving responsibility for the release of public land for housing to a senior Cabinet Minister.

MP for Croydon Central Gavin Barwell has been appointed as the new Minister of State for Housing and Planning, taking over from Brandon Lewis on July 17.

Commenting on the new appointment, Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The Government has rightly identified housing as one of the greatest challenges facing this country and having reaffirmed its commitment to building one million new homes over the course of this parliament, Barwell is assuming an important position at a critical juncture.

“It’s encouraging that Barwell has previous experience in the Department for Communities and Local Government as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Clark, who has been a great champion of local housebuilders.

“Barwell’s predecessor Brandon Lewis similarly understood the significance of reviving the SME house building sector if the Government is to achieve its housing targets, both by increasing volume and speeding up build out rates. It’s of vital importance that Barwell continues with the positive legacy Lewis left behind, which saw house building completion figures rise and a range of initiatives introduced aimed at empowering smaller developers.

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