Budget 2020: An opportunity to be bold on housing policies
Every Government of recent years has talked the talk on boosting UK housing, but walking the walk has proved much harder. The National House Building Council (NHBC) recently revealed that 161,022 homes were built last year, and while housing completions have steadily increased year on year, the statistics still bring into focus how far there is to go to get to the Government’s 300,000 annual new homes target by 2025.
Societal changes are driving an ongoing shift in the categorisation of what a “home” is, so we’d like to see an innovative Government housing policy to reflect this. Accordingly, the new Chancellor’s first Budget and the new Housing Minister must look for ways to embrace modern methods of construction (MMC) and delivering new types of residential units such as Retirement living, Co-living, Build to Rent and social rent. On ailing high streets and town centres vacant retail properties are prime for reconfiguration into new housing, offering further opportunities to increase supply by creating mixed environments with community focussed planning and delivery. Delivering more social housing is critical, and empowering councils to build and source the types of homes their local communities need would be the most effective way of driving development.
This week’s Budget will not solve the UK’s housing shortfall overnight. But we hope it will outline a clear, ambitious path to addressing it. With a majority in Parliament of the kind not seen for over a decade, this newly strengthened Conservative administration has a real opportunity to be bold on its housing policies and to see them through.