An open letter to the Secretary of State for Housing

An open letter to the Secretary of State for Housing
Following the publication of the Levelling Up Bill, a group of different corporates wrote an open letter to the Secretary of State for Housing on why they need a new generation of social homes delivered across the country.

Representatives of all parts of our economy from banking, retail, recreation, and more are arguing that if the towns and cities they work in are to succeed then the government needs to provide the secure, affordable social housing that will ensure their employees and customers can thrive. In particular, they have called to fix the rules around ‘hope’ value which makes it so hard to acquire the land needed at a fair price to deliver social housing.

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
2 Marsham Street

13 May 2022

Dear Secretary of State,

The role of social housing for levelling up

We welcome your enthusiasm for levelling up this country. We know that we have barely tapped into the potential of many of our fantastic towns and cities, and the people that call them home. You have our full support for ensuring more of the country is home to opportunity and ambition.

Investing in the transport and facilities of our towns will help us as businesses secure the local talent we need to keep investing in all corners of the country. However, we are also very aware that this investment will increase local property prices. This risks pricing current residents out while making it harder to bring new people in unless there are sufficient social homes also brought into these areas.

With this in mind, we urge you to deliver a new era of social housing for our country. We know social housing gives people the certainty and safety to become the best they can be. It allows the entrepreneurial to try the new. It keeps communities together, and it gives a level of affordability that better allows those who wish to save for ownership. In short, we believe you will only successfully level up this country with much more social housing. We call on you to ensure your plans recognise this by reforming the different tenures of affordable homes to remove those that aren’t genuinely affordable and prioritise investment in social rent housing. We also recommend that you reform outdated rules that surround the sale of land known as ‘hope value’ which makes the development of social housing unaffordable in too many areas.

Yours sincerely,

Niki Turner-Harding, Senior Vice President, Adecco UK & Ireland

Andrew Denton, Communications, Content & Brand Director, Best Western

John Long, Executive Board, Igloo Regeneration

Nick Lakin, Corporate Affairs Director, Kingfisher plc

Phil Urban, CEO, Mitchells & Butlers

Sara Bennison, Chief Propositions and Marketing Officer, Nationwide