Government announces ambitious plan to build the homes Britain needs

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The Government will introduce bold new plans to fix the broken housing market and build more homes across England.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid says the current system isn’t working and is one of the greatest barriers to progress in Britain today.

The reforms in a White Paper to be published today sets out new measures to ensure the housing market works for everyone, including people on lower incomes, renters, disabled and older people by:

• Getting the right homes built in the right places – consulting on the principle of a new, standardised way of calculating housing demand to reflect current and future housing pressures. Every local area will need to produce a realistic plan and review it at least every five years. Currently 40% of Local Planning Authorities do not have an up to date plan that meets the projected growth in households in their area. Fixing this will help make sure enough land is released for new homes to be built in the parts of the country where people want to live and work and ensure developments take heed of local people’s wishes, while continuing with maximum protections for the Green Belt. Councils and developers will also be expected to use land more efficiently by avoiding building homes at low density and building higher where there is a shortage of land and in locations well served by public transport such as trainstations.

• Speeding up house building – giving local authorities the tools to speed up house building as well as powers to make sure developers build homes on time. The government will make it easier for councils to issue completion notices, shortening the timescales to require developers to start building within two years, not three, when planning permission is granted.

We will also require greater transparency and information from developers on their pace of delivery of new housing so councils can consider this when planning their local need. This will help address the serious and growing gap between the number of planning permissions granted and the number of new homes completed.

• Diversifying the market – action to help small independent builders enter the market given including through the £3bn Home Building Fund. Currently around 60 per cent of new homes are built by just 10 companies. The fund will help us to build more than 25,000 new homes this Parliament and up to 225,000 in the longer term by providing loans for SME builders, custom builders, offsite construction and essential infrastructure, creating thousands of new jobs in the process.

Sajid Javid is highlighting research that shows it is difficult to get on the housing ladder, with the average house now costing eight times more than average earnings – an all-time record. The proportion of people living in the expensive private rented sector has doubled since 2000 and that more than 2.2 million working households with below-average incomes spend a third or more of their disposable income on housing. This means they have less money to spend on other things every month, including putting aside money for a deposit.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “Walk down your local high street today and there’s one sight you’re almost certain to see. Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent’s window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford. With prices continuing to sky rocket, if we don’t act now, a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better, and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system.

“The housing market in this country is broken and the solution means building many more houses in the places that people want to live.

“We are setting out ambitious proposals to help fix the housing market so that more ordinary working people from across the country can have the security of a decent place to live. The only way to halt the decline in affordability and help more people onto the housing ladder is to build more homes. Let’s get Britain building.”

Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell said: “We are setting out lasting reforms that will get more of the right homes built in the right places, right now.

“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.”