Plenty of promises but no action from U.K. government on housing policy
At last we have a statement of intent from the British government on housing policy going forward from the Housing White Paper published earlier this year.
With the Conservative Party conference underway, it is clear that they want to steer away from Brexit. One insider said that the mantra at the conference in Manchester is to avoid letting Brexit take over as the major issue.
Well, housing isn’t the major issue either as the conference looks set to be dominated by leadership issues, but at least is has got a mention. Speaking ahead of his conference speech, Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed an extra GBP 10 bln for an extended Help-toBuy Scheme to get another 135,000 firsttime buyers on the housing ladder.
He also confirmed that regulation of landlords and letting agents will go ahead. Landlords will be required to join a redress scheme, it will be made easier for wronged tenants to get justice, all letting agents will have to register and a new housing court set up to speed up court cases.
And he is promising to get tough on planning, saying that the current system is anti-development, there is too much Nimbyism and he wants to make sure more houses get built. But this is nothing new. When it comes to planning, he said exactly the same thing a year ago.
A quick web search shows that Javid told the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham in October 2016 that there was too much nimbyism.
“Everyone agrees we need more homes, but too many object to them being next to us. We have got to change that attitude,” he said.
Some 12 months on, we have to ask what has been done to change that attitude? Well, the government has published a Housing White Paper. But has it actually done anything? It would seem not, as while housing is being mentioned at the conference, it could be viewed as a cynical ploy to win votes, all substance and not much action.
It is one thing acknowledging
that the current planning system is helping those who oppose development and another to actually take action. It is all very well saying that the inability of young people to buy their own home is the biggest barrier to social progress in the nation today, but actions speaks louder than words.
Javid needs to step up, to actually carry out what he has been promising for at least a year. We all know that the housing market is broken, with planning issues being a big part of this, but talking is not going to solve anything.
New research shows that England’s new homes shortfall will reach more than a million by 2022. I would like to know for real what Mr Javid is going to do about that.