"The King’s Speech represented another missed opportunity to increase the housing supply in this country, with nothing to address the disproportionate burden of nutrient neutrality placed on newly built homes"
- Stewart Baseley - HBF
The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has announced that it has released a 10-point plan of practical solutions for the government to remove barriers to building and start providing the nation with much-needed homes.
Following its audit report, Housing Horizons, showing that England is the hardest place in the developed world to find a home, the industry body has produced a charter which sets out how to radically improve the supply of high-quality new homes.
With no detail in the King’s Speech on how the government intends to tackle the housing crisis, today’s plan, Firmer Foundations, outlines what action ministers could take before the next election without needing new legislation.
It provides a blueprint to radically improve the supply of high-quality new homes, while also supporting SME home builders and securing the industry’s future workforce and its path to Net Zero.
The ten policies proposed in the plan are:
1: Use the increases in planning fees to sufficiently resource planning departments, which have seen real-world funding cut by over half since 2010.
2: Require local authorities to have up-to-date local plans that meet local housing need
3: Work with industry to revise rules around nutrient neutrality and end the disproportionate impact on developers, which is currently preventing 145,000 houses from being built.
4: Make the Construction Industry Training Board fit for purpose by reforming the CITB levy to include key occupations for the industry.
5: Focus post-16 education on employers' needs.
6: Introduce a presumption in favour of development on small sites of up to 25 homes on brownfield land, as part of the planned changes to the National Planning Policy
7: Reform the Standard Method to ensure that new housing is delivered in a proportionate way across the whole country.
8: Ensuring local planning decision-makers have a strong statutory duty to give special attention to the needs of older people in local plans and housing needs assessments.
9: Abolish stamp duty for all purchases of homes with an EPC rating of B or above.
10: Facilitate a roundtable with government, industry and lenders to explore the possible expansion of green/energy-efficient mortgages.
Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: “Governments of all colours over decades have failed to tackle systemic issues in our housing and planning system which have led to England becoming the hardest place in the developed world to find a home.
“The King’s Speech represented another missed opportunity to increase housing supply in this country, with nothing to address the disproportionate burden of nutrient neutrality placed on newly built homes.
“Major legislative change, while needed, would take time to come into effect. Given the urgency of the country’s housing crisis, we’ve laid out practical steps Ministers can and should implement now to address the barriers impacting housing supply and make sure more people have access to decent homes.”
Despite some improvements in levels of home building in recent years, people across the country still struggle to find decent homes which they can afford to rent or buy.
The plan shows how properly resourcing local authority planning departments, revising the rules around nutrient neutrality, and abolishing stamp duty on more energy-efficient homes could unlock development.
Home builders are also calling for measures which would tackle some of the long-term challenges facing the sector, including reforming post-16 skills education to better meet the needs of business, and making planning policy more favourable to small and medium-size developers.
If implemented, this plan would make a decisive contribution to overcoming systemic issues facing the housing sector and give people all over the country a chance to find a good quality, affordable home.