The Housing Bill Soapbox #QueensSpeech

Three main elements:

1) Home ownership- Right to Buy

Helping more housing association tenants to buy their own home by extending the Right to Buy levels of discount to housing association tenants and requiring local authorities to dispose of high-value vacant council houses, which would help fund the Right to Buy extension discounts and the building of more affordable homes in the area. Providing the necessary statutory framework to support the delivery of an increased supply of new ‘Starter Homes’, to be reserved and offered to first-time buyers at a 20% discount on their open market value.

2) Right to Build

Enhancing the Right to Build requiring local planning authorities to support custom and self-builders registered in their area in identifying suitable plots of land to build or commission their own home.

3) Housing Supply

Giving local residents greater control over planning by simplifying and speeding up the neighbourhood planning system, to support communities that seek to meet local housing and other development needs through neighbourhood planning and to give effect to other changes to housing and planning legislation that would support housing growth. Freeing-up  land for development by introducing a statutory register for brownfield land, to help achieve the target of getting Local Development Orders in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020.

Who says what?

The Right to Build, Starter Home and Brownfield Register initiatives have largely been welcomed; however the Right to Buy extension is set to be controversial.

Local Government Association

"The current Right-to-buy system only allows councils to replace half or fewer of homes they have sold. The Government has rightly promised every home sold under these proposals will be replaced on a one-for-one basis and we need to make sure new proposals enable that to happen.”"Councils understand the need to provide more homes for first-time buyers and are already taking steps to make first-time homes more affordable. New starter homes cannot be built in isolation or without any wider community needs. They must come with the infrastructure needed and include a mix of housing.”

Read the Local Government's full response here

Association of British Insurers

"It is important steps are taken to provide more affordable homes, which are badly needed by many people. However this needs to be achieved in a sustainable way, within a planning system which is robust about refusing inappropriate development in areas of flood risk and which pays proper attention to advice from the Environment Agency.”

Read the ABI's comments in full here

National Housing Federation (representing a large body of housing associations)

"Plans to identify and free up brownfield land, the Right to Build and Starter Homes are all moves in the right direction and will contribute to resolving the huge housing shortage we have. But we need to ensure these new homes are built where people need them and available at a price people can afford. However, the proposed Right to Buy extension and welfare reforms put these plans at risk.”

On the extension of the Right to Buy:

"An extension to the Right to Buy would mean that housing associations are working to keep pace with replacements rather than building homes for the millions stuck on waiting lists. At a time when we need to be increasing the overall amount of social housing, it is like trying to fill a bathtub with the plug taken out.

“What’s more, forcing housing associations to sell of their properties under the Right to Buy sets an extremely dangerous precedent of government interference in independent business.”

“This policy does nothing for the 11 million private renters and three million adult children living at home with their parents. If there is £22.5 billion of public money available for housing, we should use it to build the homes the next generation needs, not just gift it to the lucky few already housed in housing association homes.”

Read the National Housing Federation's full response here

Chartered Institute of Housing

“Extending right to buy to housing associations is not going to tackle the housing crisis – in fact it could make things worse  ...Our concern is that in practice it would result in the loss of vital social and affordable homes. The government says each home sold would be replaced on a one-for-one basis – but we know this is not happening under the current scheme. Our research has shown that most local authorities only expect to be able to replace half or fewer of the homes they sell under right to buy. And government figures show that between April 2012 and last September councils started or acquired 2,298 homes using right to buy receipts – just one for every 11 sold.”

“The best way of helping people on lower incomes into home ownership is by increasing the supply of affordable housing. CIH is ready to work with the government on the solutions that could make a real difference, for example investing in shared ownership and supporting local authorities on land and asset management to deliver more homes.”

Read the Chartered Institute of Housing's full response here

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

“The government is clearly putting housing at the heart of its agenda. But the Right to Buy, starter homes and brownfield proposals put together still fall short of a comprehensive supply strategy for dealing with the housing crisis.

A huge amount of detail is required on Right to Buy to see whether housing associations and the people who need them are not to be disadvantaged.”

Read RICS full response here

Confederation of British Industry

“Extending the Right to Buy scheme is a clear signal the new Government will make home ownership a top priority. But it’s vital the business case is thoroughly examined through a public consultation to ensure the policy delivers the best value for money and improves the supply of affordable homes.”

“Fast-tracking the planning system to build Starter Homes on brownfield sites is a step in the right direction, and the Government must work closely with the business community to make sure the scheme works effectively for house-builders and prospective buyers alike.”

Read further comments from the CBI here

Taking stock and looking forward

What statutes and regulations are likely to be affected?
  • Town and Country Planning Act 1990
  • Housing Acts 1985 and 1996
  • Housing and Regeneration Act 2008
  • Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 No.637
  • Housing (Right to Buy) Regulations 1997 No. 619
Will this apply to England and Wales?

The legislation will cover England and Wales – but will initially be applied only to England. Any application to Wales will be a decision for the Welsh Government. The Provisions relating to planning will apply only to England.

What consultation has taken place so far?

Consultation on Starter Homes and Government Response – March 2015:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/stepping-onto-the-property-ladder

Building more homes on brownfield land: consultation proposals – January 2015:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/building-more-homes-on-brownfieldland

Consultation on Right to Build, and Government response – March 2015:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/right-to-build-supporting-custom-andself-build

Neighbourhood planning: Government response to consultation – December 2014:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/technical-consultation-on-planning.

Filed Under: Property

Relevant Articles
Area of Interest