(London Post) A package of housing measures will accelerate home building and deliver more homes. The Prime Minister and Chancellor have today set out plans to accelerate housing building over the next 5 years – making clear that this ‘one nation’ government is squarely on the side of working people who want to get on and enjoy the benefits of home ownership.
The plans, which will form part of the Housing Bill to be introduced this autumn, include steps to build discounted homes for first time buyers on all reasonable sized developments, unlock public land for hundreds of thousands of new homes and back small builders with planning changes.
And in a direct message to opponents of reform, the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear that they are determined to reward hard work across society and help people into their own homes – and will press ahead with plans to give housing association tenants the chance to buy their own home, benefitting from a discount of up to 70% when they do so.
Writing in the Times today, the PM and Chancellor said:
Having your own place is an important stake in our economy. It’s also one of the best expressions of the aspirational country we want to build, where hard work is rewarded.
We don’t want this to be a country where if you’re rich you can buy a home, but if you’re less well off, you can’t. We want it to be one nation, where whoever you are, you can get on in life.
In the last 5 years, we got builders building, lenders lending, and government-backed schemes alone helped more than 200,000 people on the property ladder. The next 5 will be about going much further. Of course, there will be opponents – but we are determined to take them on.
It’s simple: you are either pro-reform or not; for building homes, or not; on the side of young people, or not. We know our position. As a one nation government, we will always be squarely on the side of those who want to get on.
Plans outlined today
For too long an entire generation has been locked out of home ownership, with home ownership levels amongst 25 to 34 year olds falling from 59% to 36% over the last 10 years.
This government will increase home ownership for these young, hardworking people by:
- Help to Buy – the popular programme, which has already helped more than 100,000 into their own home by helping with the costs of deposits, will be extended until 2020
- Starter Homes – 58,000 people have already signed up to show their interest in owning one of these new homes – exclusively for first time buyers under 40, at a 20% discount. 200,000 of these new homes will be built over the next 5 years. And to deliver this, the government is today announcing that every reasonable sized housing site must include starter homes – and a new duty will be placed on councils to make sure they include starter homes in their future housing plans for their area
- Right to Buy – the government will be pressing ahead with plans to give housing association tenants the opportunity to buy their own home and ensuring that, like local authority tenants, they will get a discount of up to 70% – bringing them on a par with the benefits already enjoyed by council tenants across the country
Helping small builders
Across Europe, almost half of all new builds are commissioned by individuals – in England this is around 10%. We will double the number of custom built and self-built homes by 2020 by placing a new duty on councils to help allocate land to people who want to build their own home. This means from next April, councils must hold a register of custom and self builders who require land in the area and must make sure they look to provide land to meet their needs. We will also shortly be announcing a government initiative that will invest alongside smaller builders in new developments, providing money to support their businesses, helping get workers onto sites and increase home supply.
Bringing forward land
The government has pledged to bring forward enough public sector land for 150,000 homes over the next 5 years. This comes on top of the land that has already been released – which has development potential for 100,000 homes.
Unlocking land and reforming planning
With just 10% of England developed, there is enough brownfield land available for 400,000 homes. The government will take forward plans to unlock land and build as many homes as possible on suitable land, while continuing to protect the green belt for local people. This includes:
The government has already committed to ensuring that planning permission is in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020. On top of this, we plan to invest £400m, match-funded by the Mayor in London, to create 30 brownfield Housing Zones.
This government believes that wherever possible, planning decisions should be made by local people. We will cut back on red tape and endless planning documents to focus on what people care about – local roads, schools and homes that meet their needs. That means giving local people more of a say on where new homes go and what they look like. We will also take action on councils that have failed to produce a plan for the homes their community needs – ensuring plans are written for those areas.
A full action plan detailing the government’s proposals will be published early next week.