The Inside Edge
Last week, the Home Builders Federation (HBF) announced a welcome to new housing minister Mark Prisk while urging the MP for Hertford and Stortford to act quickly to protect the interests of domestic property building firms across the country.
Meanwhile, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have responded to calls within the industry to aid housing growth by announcing new proposals which will inject cash as well as addressing the question of restrictive planning laws.
“We hope he (Mark Prisk) will offer some radical ideas to transform the current housing and planning systems and tackle the housing crisis, providing economic growth and jobs, and strengthening communities across the country,” said Stewart Baseley of the HBF last week.
In the separate announcement, the UK’s coalition government claim that their brand new package of measures will create up to 70,000 new properties including a significant proportion of affordable new homes for first time buyers.
The proposals will also aim to create around 140,000 jobs in the sector as the government aims to inject £40bn into infrastructure projects. It will also look to reduce the obstacles put in the way of new homes and will allow developers to sit down with local councils and re-negotiate agreements on affordable homes.
Speaking on daytime television Mr Cameron said,
“Frankly we had a situation where the lenders did not want to lend so the builders could not build and the buyers could not buy. We are talking today about 140,000 jobs provided by building an extra 70,000 houses.”
Nick Clegg added that the scheme would simply make it cheaper for developers to build.
“If you are finding it too expensive to raise money yourself to put shovels in the ground to employ on construction sites and build homes for private rent and to build affordable homes we are going to make it cheaper for you to do so,” he said.
Predictably however, Labour’s opposition has criticised the government’s actions on new homebuilding as a whole.
“We need to get Britain building again, but the government has slashed the housing budget and the number of affordable homes being built is down by 68%,” said Rachel Reeves, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.
“The fundamental problem is not the planning system or Section 106 agreements for much-needed affordable housing, it is the lack of confidence and demand in the economy, slashed public investment and the government’s failing economic plan.”
However, the Prime Minister is adamant that this shows a clear commitment from the government to address any problems and to meet the demand for new housing.
“The measures announced today show this government is serious about rolling its sleeves up and doing all it can to kickstart the economy. Some of the proposals are controversial; others have been a long time in coming. But along with our housing strategy, they provide a comprehensive plan to unleash one of the biggest home building programmes this country has seen in a generation,” Mr Cameron concluded.