Last week, the Department of Communities and Local Government published a Housing White Paper, an ambitious plan to build the homes Britain needs and create a housing market which works for all.
The White Paper laid out a number of plans to tackle the failures at every point in the current system. Firstly, the need to plan for the right homes in the right places, ensuring that every area across the country has an up-to-date housing plan. Secondly, the need to build homes faster, investing in making the planning system more open and accessible. Thirdly, the need to diversify the housing market, including bringing in new contractors and backing small and medium-sized builders.
These measures will have a lasting, positive impact on housing supply, but they will inevitably take time to have an effect. The White Paper, therefore, also sets out how the Government will help people immediately – from investing in affordable housing, to banning unfair letting agents’ fees and preventing homelessness.
Building the homes we need is possible. In the last few years, we have seen annual house building starts increase by 30 percent, almost 300,000 affordable homes built in England and more people getting on the property ladder thanks to schemes such as Help to Buy and the reinvigoration of Right to Buy.
In the Forest, our local Councillors have worked hard to develop a local Plan, allocating sufficient land for housing in the area. It grants planning permissions to get new homes built where we need them, but unfortunately is often frustrated by big developers who then do not build the houses promised. To add salt to the wound, developers also often put in speculative applications and argue that there is no land supply, when it is they themselves who are not building the houses needed. I hope that the White Paper will help ensure that the clear decisions of our democratically elected local Councillors are upheld, and that abuses of the appeals process are ended.
The Government will continue to build on this record and go further and meet our obligation to build many more houses, of the type people want to live in, in the places they want to live. The White Paper will help tenants of today and the homeowners of tomorrow, getting more of the right homes built in the right places and halting decades of decline and fixing our broken housing market for good.