The Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has today set out the details of the Housing White Paper, which seeks to address the serious issue that parts of England have with providing enough houses to meet demand. It now takes a first-time buyer couple 24 years to save up enough money for a deposit without assistance from their family. A fact that has led to a collapse of home ownership for people 35 years or below, to a record low of just 37% today.
The government’s proposals to require local authorities to publish five-year housing plans, relaxing density rules for new sites, assisting small firms to enter the market, reducing the time span available to two years for granting of planning permission to building, and supporting off-site construction form a significant part of the blueprint to the government’s proposed solution.
On the Housing White Paper, Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), said: "It is welcome news that the government has recognised the enormity of the issues facing the UK with the collapse of its housing infrastructure. We have been under-building for thirty years now and the situation has now got so bad that it threatens the UK economic performance. Nothing highlights this fact more that the fact that the average London home now earns almost £10 more an hour than the person living in it.
"Although the industry welcomes the announcement in today’s white paper, it does not go far enough as the government is failing to deal with a major failing of the housing market, which is the supply of local infrastructure. The current system of raising funds for new infrastructure created by developments is broken, collecting between 5-20% of estimated revenue leaving an 80% black hole in spending. No wonder people oppose new house building in their areas when they are left without investment in roads, schools, GP surgeries and utilities. If the government wants to make a real difference in the housing market, it should make sure infrastructure investment are made to ensure the success of housing developments."