Housing White Paper — encouraging signs that government is listening to councils

Housing White Paper — encouraging signs that government is listening to councils

In his speech unveiling the new Housing White Paper earlier today, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said “local authorities have a vital role to play in getting homes built quickly.” Sajid outlined that government “will support housing associations to build more and explore options for local authorities to build again, including through accelerated construction schemes on public sector land.”

Responding to the publication of the Government’s Housing White Paper, Cllr Martin Tett, Housing spokesman at the Local Government Association, said: “This White Paper includes some encouraging signs that government is listening to councils on how to boost housing supply and increase affordability. We are pleased it has taken on board a number of recommendations made in our recent Housing Commission final report.

“Communities must have faith that the planning system responds to their aspirations for their local area, rather than simply being driven by national targets. To achieve this, councils must have powers to ensure that new homes are affordable and meet their assessments of local need, are attractive and well-designed, and are supported by the schools, hospitals, roads and other services vital for places to succeed.

“All types of homes — including those for affordable and social rent — have to be built to solve our housing crisis and flexibility around starter homes is much-needed recognition of this. It is important that councils have powers to ensure a mix of homes are built, alongside the infrastructure to support strong communities.

“Our cities, towns and villages are already saying ‘yes’ to development as nine in 10 planning applications are approved, but increasingly the homes are not being built. Giving councils the power to force developers to build homes more quickly and to properly fund their planning services are vital for our communities to prosper.

“Local government believes even more needs to be done to rapidly build more genuinely affordable homes to help families struggling to meet housing costs, provide homes to rent, reduce homelessness and tackle the housing waiting lists many councils have.

“For this to happen, councils desperately need the powers and access to funding to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes. This means being able to borrow to invest in housing and to keep 100% of the receipts from properties sold through Right to Buy to replace homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need.”

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