Starter Homes: an opportunity missed

Yesterday the Prime Minister went to Poole to launch a new starter homes scheme that will deliver 100,000 homes for purchase by first time buyers at 20% below the market value. Beneath this simple consumer-friendly message there is a complex scheme involving several different interventions and changes. In short, it’s half right – and half wrong.

On the positive side, the scheme is a very welcome sign that the government recognises the urgent need to build more homes, and to … Read more

One North …. Plus?

On Tuesday something strange happened. Everyone in politics agreed on something.

One North – a collection of five cities working together – put forward an ambitious proposal on how to improve transport connectivity, dubbed the “Crossrail of the North”.

George Osborne pledged support, stating he’d make the plans the centrepiece of his Autumn Statement. And Ed Balls welcomed the proposals too.

However, before everyone runs away with themselves I want to offer an amendment, an addition to the plans. Let’s … Read more

The question should now be about 'how' to get houses built

Shelter have long been campaigning for more houses. We need around 250,000 new homes per year to keep pace with the projected growth in households and even this doesn’t address the cumulative shortfall of past decades. Unfortunately, we are currently building around half of this. If this trend continues, prices will continue to grow at a fast pace putting a strain on families’ lives and budgets.

But the stage on from this is about how we get houses built. Earlier … Read more

Guest blog: CPRE on how to get homes built
Guest blog: CPRE on how to get homes built

Polling shows that most people agree there is a housing crisis. But nearly half don’t believe that new homes are needed in their local area. When opposition blocks local development, this limits the numbers of homes available for young people and families starting out, and holds back our economy.

New Shelter evidence reveals that the size of new homes is a major factor in local concerns about development. Nearly half (44%) of the public told us they were more likely … Read more

We need new homes. And some of them need to be in your back yard

We’ve been arguing for a while (since about 1966, in fact) that as a country we need to build more good quality affordable homes. Sadly, though, the last fifty years have in fact seen an almost continuous decline in the number of new homes being built.

But there are signs that there is an increasing appetite for this to change. At last year’s party conferences, David Cameron urged people to accept that ‘we need more homes in Britain’, … Read more

Let councils build – and borrow

Many voices – including Shelter’s – have been plugging the economic benefits of getting housebuilding, but two things are new about the current burst of pre-budget clamour.

Firstly, the breadth, and seniority, of the voices demanding investment has reached a new level. When the CBI, the Chambers of Commerce, a former Thatcher Government Cabinet member and even the Secretary of State for Business are all saying the same thing, all it needs now to complete the set is … Read more

We want economic growth, so how about more homes?

You might have missed Nick Clegg’s announcement on the next wave of city deals: apparently all twenty cities that applied for a city deal will now enter talks with the Government ‘on a staggered basis’, to ‘negotiate deals that give them the levers and powers they need to drive economic growth.’

OK, so this may not constitute a revolution in civic leadership, but Clegg’s convolutions do reveal an interesting tension within central government: they’re desperate to drive economic growth, but … Read more

Is cash for communities enough to tackle NIMBYs?

It was with some gusto that Planning Minister Nick Boles launched the latest Government planning policy to incentivise new house building on Newsnight yesterday evening.

Agreeing with Shelter’s research findings that a key barrier in the planning system is often local opposition to new homes being built, Boles proposed that a proportion of money raised from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) when new developments are approved would go directly to local community groups to spend on infrastructure.

In practice this … Read more

Let Boles be bold

While most of the policy universe was busy speculating on the contents of the Leveson report this morning, new Planning Minister Nick Boles was waxing lyrical to the TCPA conference on the value of beauty. He made a robust call for beautiful homes in well designed places, in line with the tradition of medieval villages, Edinburgh’s New Town, and Letchworth Garden City – and repeated the assertion made on Newsnight the night before that too many new builds are ‘pig … Read more

Back to school: the new political season

September – chillier, windier, busier – is traditionally a time for a refresh. Having had the summer to reflect on how things have gone, our politicians traditionally use the return to Parliament to set out a rejuvenated course for the coming months. Summer 2012 was exceptional in every sense, and the Prime Minister used the moment to really shake up his ministerial teams.

It’s all change for housing policy. Our new team of ministers have been in post for a … Read more

Time to talk legacy?

There’s bound to be some stiff competition to get into Private Eye’s Olympicballs column this week – but let’s give it a go….

It’s still unfashionable to be sceptical about the likelihood of a legacy for the games, but let’s not forget that the original vision behind London’s bid for the Olympics was about regenerating a huge swathe of the ex-industrial east end, and providing tonnes of new homes in shiny new neighbourhoods.

So as the celebrations finish and … Read more

Guest blog: Reshuffles, ‘dither’ and nimbyism

New ministers and a fresh new package of announcements – it’s been an exciting couple of days in the housing world, although I was saddened to see that the PM and DPM didn’t don hard hats and high-vis vests this morning, as is customary when announcing anything to do with house building…

Here, our guest blogger Ben Marshall of Ipsos MORI takes a closer at the politics and public opinions behind the recent announcements, and asks whether the culture of … Read more