The Lords Built Environment Committee has published its Meeting housing demand report and calls on the Government to act on planning, SMEs and housing for the elderly to address the housing crisis
The report reveals that too many people live in expensive and poor-quality homes and with an ageing population that will see one in four people in the UK over the age of 65 by 2050, the UK needs more specialist housing suitable for the elderly.
The Lords Built Environment Committee is calling for the New Homes Ombudsman to ensure homes are built to high standards of quality and design.
Skills shortages are also a major issue. The Government’s own figures show that shortages accounted for 36% of all construction vacancies and 48% of all manufacturing and skilled trades vacancies.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Chair of the House of Lords Built Environment Committee, said:
“Skills shortages in the construction, design and planning sectors must be addressed to unlock the required development, including the green skills needed to address climate change.”
The report is calling for the industry to be upskilled and reskilled, including for the green skills needed to address climate change, and for urgent reform of The Apprenticeship Levy.
The role of SMEs in the housebuilding industry has also collapsed. Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, added: “The Government’s ambitious target of 300,000 new homes per year will only be met if Government takes action to remove the barriers for housebuilders, particularly for SMEs who 35 years ago built 39% of new homes but now build just 10%.”
Planning reforms have created uncertainty for housebuilders and planners and more up-to-date, simple, clear and transparent local plans are needed. Planning departments need more resources to avert an emerging crisis.
“The planning system needs urgent reform. Currently, less than half of local authorities have an up-to-date local plan: more councils need simple, clear and transparent local plans. Any new planning system will only work if local planning authorities have the resources and staff to implement it.
“Uncertainty and the absence of a clear policy direction has only exacerbated housing problems. Our report provides a package of proposals to help deliver much needed housing and address the critical undersupply of new homes”, Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG concluded.