Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Housing experts 'disappointed' with loose commitments in Queen's Speech

  • Comment

Despite a commitment from the government to “ensure more homes are built” housing experts have called the Queen’s Speech “disappointing”.

Many of the reforms contained in the housing white paper, published earlier this year, can still go ahead without new legislation, though.

While the briefing notes attached to the Queen’s Speech contained two pages on housing, there was little detail about what, exactly, the government intends to do to increase the number of homes being built on an annual basis.

As a result there is concern about how committed the government is to tackling the housing crisis.

Melanie Rees, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “It’s clear what the government’s priorities are at the moment [Brexit]…

“We have been saying [the housing crisis] has been generations in the making and it is going to affect generations to come if we don’t get it right so in that respect it [the Queen’s Speech] is disappointing.”

She said the themes outlined in the notes attached to the Queen’s Speech - freeing up more land for new homes, speeding up building through modern construction methods, and diversifying those who build - summarised the white paper’s approach.

One of the key reforms proposed in the white paper included plans to introduce a standardised approach to assessing housing requirements.

While there was no specific mention of that in the Queen’s Speech, Ms Rees said such measures were not necessarily “off the table” as they could be delivered through regulations rather than primary legislation.

Neil Clarke, chair of the District Councils’ Network, called on the government to help councils build more homes “through the development and implementation of secondary legislation at the earliest opportunity”.

This included changing the National Planning Policy Framework “to encourage an expansion of the type and tenure of new homes to meet need” and allowing councils to retain 100% of the receipts from properties sold under the right-to-buy. Councils should also have longer than three years – the current limit – to spend those receipts, he said.

In addition, Cllr Clarke wanted the cap on the amount councils can borrow for housing lifted.

Many of those requests were echoed by Martin Tett (Con), Local Government Association housing spokesman. While the inclusion of housing in the Queen’s Speech indicated it was still being treated “a priority” Cllr Tett said it would “require the government to go much further than the implementation of the housing white paper reforms” if more homes are to be built.

Cllr Tett said he also wanted to “hear more” about the council housing deals, which were outlined in the Conservative manifesto. These deals would see a proportion of the social homes built sold after 10 to 15 years, with the tenant receiving the first right-to-buy on that property. Money raised from sales would to be reinvested in building more social housing.

While £1.4bn from the affordable homes programme budget was to be made available for these deals, LGC previously reported how concerns were raised about the lack of impact that funding would have.

 

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.