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Report says Governments 300,000 home target has no clear plan

Wednesday 26 June 2019

The Public Accounts Committee’s recent Planning and the Broken Housing Market report acknowledges the UK Government’s ambitious target of delivering 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s, but says it has little chance of being achieved.

The three key conclusions from the report:

  • There lacks a clear plan explaining how the Government will meet their highly ambitious target of 300,000 new homes a year
  • Poor performance in the planning system is delaying progress
  • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and local authorities are not doing enough to prevent poor build quality of new homes

The Committee says that if the Government delivers on its pledge to build 300,000 new homes per year, it would be a significant increase in the rate of house building, with the number built a year averaging only 177,000 in the period 2005–06 to 2017–18.

The report welcomes MHCLG’s focus on wanting a ‘plan-led system’, with local authorities determining the shape of development in their areas through their own local plans. But fewer than half of all local authorities have an up-to-date local plan showing how many, where and what types of new homes are needed in their areas.

The group of MPs concluded that whilst MHCLG has made some recent reforms to the planning system, much more needs to be done and it still does not have a detailed implementation plan for how it will scale-up house building.

The recommendations made by the Committee:

  • By October 2019, MHCLG should set out, in a single publicly available document, the full set of actions it is taking to achieve the target of 300,000 new homes and include year-on-year projections for the number of new homes it expects to be built.
  • By the end of 2019, MHCLG should write to the PAC Committee detailing what additional interventions it will make when local authorities fail to produce local plans. These interventions should include a range of ‘carrot and stick’ measures of support and penalties.
  • By the end of 2019, MHCLG should set out detailed actions and milestones for the Planning Inspectorate’s performance improvements across the full range of all its services.
  • MHCLG should continuously monitor whether its reforms to the Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 are having the impact that is necessary and adjust or adapt accordingly. It should update the Committee by the end of 2019 on the impact of those reforms already in place, and on the progress of implementing those that were in development at the time of our evidence session.
  • By October 2019, MHCLG should set out its expectations for the types, tenures, and amounts of affordable and social housing to be delivered and how this will contribute to the 300,000 new homes a year.
  • By October 2019, MHCLG should set out how it will work with local authorities, developers, and other agencies on how they will prevent, penalise and compensate for poor residential build quality. When it releases the design guide, the Department should define what a sufficient quality of final build should look like.

Committee Chair Meg Hillier said:“Progress against the government’s annual new house building target is way off track and currently shows scant chance of being achieved.

“The government has set itself the highly ambitious target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s – levels not seen since World War Two – even though there is no clear rationale for this figure and the ministry themselves say only 265,000 new homes a year are needed.

“Government needs to get a grip and set out a clear plan if it is not to jeopardise these ambitions.”

What Propertymark is doing

NAEA Propertymark and ARLA Propertymark do not think that enough is being done to tackle empty properties and the demand for housing is on the up. We have responded to consultations across the UK, to push for better use of properties including elderly accommodation and empty homes. Here are some of the responses Propertymark has submitted:

Welsh Assembly Inquiry into Empty Homes consultation response

Empty Homes in Scotland consultation response

In NAEA Propertymark’s representation to HM Treasury on the Autumn Budget 2018 we called for the following to be considered in order to strengthen the housing sector:

  • Exempt downsizers from stamp duty or give them incentives to encourage them to move
  • Abolish the 3% surcharge on additional residential property
  • Legislate to ensure developers remedy leaseholders with onerous clauses
  • Introduce a strong approach to enforcement and prosecution for non-compliance of Money Laundering Regulations 2017
  • Introduce a digital logbook for every property bought and sold

Autumn Budget representation to HM Treasury