'Stop dithering and start building' – experts on the housing white paper

After much delay, the government today launched its housing white paper. The paper covers England only, with planning powers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland devolved to their governments and executives.

Key points in the plan are:

  • Incentivising older people to downsize to smaller properties.
  • Forcing developers to start building within two years of securing planning permission.
  • A £3bn fund to help small builders deliver more homes.
  • Incentives for build to let.
  • Maintaining protections for the green belt.

Shadow housing minister John Healey called the white paper “beyond feeble” in the Commons, adding “this is a white flag not a white paper. It confirms the Tories have given up on home ownership and have no plan to fix the country’s housing crisis.” Other house experts also felt the white paper could have done more:

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing
“The package of measures announced today represents an important shift in housing policy which demonstrates a commitment to tackle our housing crisis. It’s particularly pleasing to see the government recognise the need for a broader range of organisations to build new homes, especially the crucial role of local authorities in delivering the housing we need – something we’ve consistently called for.

“However our concern is that much housing remains out of reach for a significant number of people and we would like to see the government back up the package of…

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