Following the new government’s pre-election promises many were waiting with great interest to hear how the housing sector would feature in the Queen’s Speech.
They were not disappointed and welcomed the housing measures announced, including the proposed Housing Bill, which will provided the framework to extend the Starter Home initiative to deliver 200,000 homes to first-time buyers aged below 40 at 20 per cent below market rate.
It will also create a statutory register for brownfield land so that the government can work towards its target of securing Local Development Orders on 90 per cent of brownfield land suitable for development by 2020.
Speaking just after the state opening of Parliament the Home Builders Federation executive chairman, Stewart Baseley said:
“The Government’s focus on boosting housing supply in this new parliament is very welcome. Last week saw positive housebuilding figures with activity at its highest since 2007 but we’re a long way off building the number of homes the country needs so more action is required.
“The planning process still takes too long to navigate which is detrimental to the prospects of small and medium-sized builders in particular. We need to reduce barriers to entry, cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and get more builders building the homes of tomorrow.”
Assistant Director of Campaigns and Communications at the National Housing Federation, Henry Gregg also supported the Housing Bill along with the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, which will see powers transferred to cities with elected metro mayors, saying:
“We are pleased to see a Housing Bill front and centre of the Queen’s Speech and to see the Government committed to getting more homes built.
“Plans to identify and free up brownfield land, the Right to Build and Starter Homes are all moves in the right direction and will contribute to resolving the huge housing shortage we have. But we need to ensure these new homes are built where people need them and available at a price people can afford. However, the proposed Right to Buy extension and welfare reforms put these plans at risk.
“The cities devolution bill has the potential to bring an end to the housing crisis in all its different forms, grow local economies and regenerate communities. Housing associations stand ready to engage with local leaders to help create communities where people want to live and work.”
Also commenting on the devolution of powers to metro mayors Royal Town Planning Institute chief executive, Trudi Elliott said:
“The RTPI welcomes more powers devolved to cities as outlined in the Queen’s Speech, including the widening of the functions of combined authorities. But it is also vital that areas and towns between cities are not left behind and can benefit from planning that looks beyond political boundaries.
“The RTPI urges future elected city mayors and local authorities to cooperate and plan more strategically on issues such as housing, renewable energy, transport, health and education by entering into partnerships. We hope the opportunities presented through the new City and Local Government Devolution Bill will lead to more cross-border cooperation.”
By David Mote, Editor