Published: Thursday, 6th October 2016
Communities Secretary acknowledges the administration’s poor track record for delivering new homes and promises significant new measures to speed up the supply of new housing…
The government will publish a Housing White Paper later this year which will include significant new measures to speed up the supply of new housing.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid highlighted that prospect in his speech, which focussed on the UK’s housing crisis, at this week’s Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.
The Secretary of State acknowledged that the administration’s track record was poor. “This country has not built enough homes. We’ve got to be honest about it.
“In the last year of full records, we managed to deliver more than 170,000 additional properties across England. We need to do much better.”
He added: “Everyone agrees we need to build more homes. But too many of us object to them being built next to us. We’ve got to change that attitude.
“So my message is very clear: it’s time to get building. The big developers must release their stranglehold on supply. Time to stop sitting on land banks, delaying build-out: the homebuyers must come first.
“Almost 280,000 planning permissions were issued over the last twelve months… I want to see each and every one of those homes built as soon as possible.
“Local leaders must be prepared to make difficult calls, even if they’re unpopular. And so must MPs and councillors.
“Of course, there are valid reasons to oppose some planning applications. But all of us have a duty to think about the long-term consequences of every decision we make.
“As elected representatives, we are here to take the right decisions – not the easy ones. Ultimately, we have a responsibility to build more houses.”
Javid used his speech to stress three immediate initiatives and flag up future action. He highlighted the launch of a £3bn Home Building Fund. The fund will provide loans for SME builders, custom builders, offsite construction and essential infrastructure.
He promised direct action to fix the housing market, using public land and £2bn of investment to encourage new developers and different models of construction to build at up to double the rate of traditional housebuilders. This ‘accelerated construction’ approach will deliver up to 15,000 homes in this Parliament on surplus public sector land.
Javid also promised a package of measures to encourage urban regeneration and to build on brownfield land. This would involve “delivering high quality housing for families, bringing new energy to our high streets and town centres” and would result in “abandoned shopping centres being transformed into new communities and increasing density of housing around stations to build homes”.
He stressed that increasing the stock of affordable housing was a moral imperative. And he reiterated the government’s ambition for “a million new homes by 2020”.