Creating a fair housing market for all

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Fair housing market, housing crisis

Despite decades of discussion and successive governments’ efforts, the UK is still in the grip of a housing crisis. Ben Everitt MP discusses the creation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Housing Market & Housing Delivery and its report, A Fair Housing Market for All, which aims to untangle the web of challenges holding back housebuilding

I set up the Housing Market & Housing Delivery APPG in 2020 to focus on the problems affecting the delivery of new homes. The APPG consists of a number of parliamentarians who share a belief in the importance of building new homes and want to raise housing high up the political agenda. Alongside parliamentarians, the APPG has also recruited an advisory board of industry leaders who can provide guidance and expert counsel.

As an APPG, our role is to raise awareness of industry challenges and opportunities, to improve the profile and status of construction, and to build a stronger channel between Government and business. We were determined not to be another talking shop or trade body but instead to create an active “thinking space”, which convenes meetings and overcomes bureaucratic barriers. Our meetings so far have shown the power of bringing thoughtful people together to discuss a shared challenge, using problem-solving tools.

The background to our APPG is that despite decades of discussion and countless policy interventions, the UK housing crisis remains. Successive, well-meaning policy interventions in the housing market have created a complex web of unintended consequences, leading to unnecessary delay, uncertainty and cost in the housebuilding process. The planning process is adversarial, bureaucratic and fails to deliver the homes that local communities want.

In March, the APPG published its first report, A Fair Housing Market for All. This report is based on our first formal consultation, which took place between August and January.

In our consultation, we took a “big picture” approach to obtain a better view of “the plumbing” beneath the surface of the UK’s housing industry. We had 270 responses to our online survey, 37 written submissions and 13 parties gave oral evidence.

What is apparent from the responses is the wide agreement across the sector on what the key problems and roadblocks are. Although the sector faces definite challenges, I am very optimistic because if we fix these problems, we could see our housing market, and the levelling up agenda more broadly, turbocharged by building more of the right homes in the right places.

Following analysis of the consultation responses, we identified the following five main themes:

  • Levelling up: Ending regional inequalities in house­building could unlock sustainable, long-term organic growth outside London and the South East. Delivering the right housing in the right places is key to the government’s levelling up agenda.
  • High-skilled careers in the construction industry: Capitalising on net zero and Modern Methods of Construction to create new long-term, high-skilled career options in the construction industry.
  • Older people’s housing: The need for suitable housing of all tenures, for all age groups, is a growing concern. Unsuitable housing for our older generation costs the health service, and local government, and restricts the supply of homes for young and growing families.
  • Utilising value: The failure to ‘capture’ the uplift in land value and the subsequent lack of appropriate infrastructure continue to drive local opposition to development. If the industry is going to deliver well-designed homes, good place-making and sustainable communities, the funding for the right infrastructure is key.
  • Reforming land supply: Securing adequate land for development remains the greatest barrier to delivering new homes. The 1961 LCA requires reform if land is to be unlocked at reasonable rates for development.

In our meetings with ministers, we have been very encouraged by the government’s willingness to listen to industry leaders and to embrace radical reforms of the housing market, and we hope that the recommendations in the report will contribute to this process of unlocking the UK’s housing market, enabling more and more people to get the homes they want.

The APPG is keen to widen its network of industry leaders in order to grow its knowledge base and firepower. If you would like to get involved with the APPG, please email the APPG Secretariat on: secretariat@appghousing.org.uk.

Ben Everitt MP has served as the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes North since the 2019 general election.

 

 

Ben Everitt MP

Chair

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Housing Market & Housing Delivery

secretariat@appghousing.org.uk

www.appghousing.org.uk

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