Rishi Sunak

In a budget that was overshadowed by the Corona Virus, the Chancellor was short on detail on housing (and made no specific reference to custom and self build or to Help to Buy), but did highlight the Housing Secretary will shortly set out for the House comprehensive reforms to bring the planning system into the 21st century.

The package of support to the economy in the light of Corona Virus is welcome, as NaCSBA membership is broad and diverse and the virus has already impacted our sector.

The Budget Red Book gave some additional details on housing noting:
“To continue to support the country’s needs the government has committed to creating at least 1 million new homes in England by the end of this Parliament and an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.”

Land availability, as constrained by the planning system, is the most significant barrier to building more houses. The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government will shortly set out comprehensive reforms to bring the planning system into the 21st century, followed by a Planning White Paper in the spring. These reforms will aim to create a simpler planning system and improve the capacity, capability and performance of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to accelerate the development process.

“Where LPAs fail to meet their local housing need, there will be firm consequences, including a stricter approach taken to the release of land for development and greater government intervention. The government will also explore long-term reforms to the planning system, rethinking planning from first principles, to ensure the system is providing more certainty to the public, LPAs and developers.”

NaCSBA welcomes both the commitments to more homes and to increasing land availability – in particular to custom and self builders. We await with interest what will be announced. NaCSBA is clear that early and muscular action is required to promote custom and self build if we are to have the numbers and quality of homes that we need in England in particular.

NaCSBA is yet to hear more on the specific commitments contained within the Conservative Manifesto to allow access to the Help to Buy Equity loan scheme and to help people who want to build their own home find plots of land, however we remain confident that work on both is underway. As above we continue to encourage early and decisive action to maximise the impact by the mid 2020’s, and we look forward to the next spending review as the opportunity to continue to make our case.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell CEO NaCSBA said “It is good to see Government reiterate the need for more homes and to commit to changing the planning system to make that process easier. Custom and self build is key to the changes required as not only can the sector deliver more homes, but they are of better quality and are more wanted. We await further details with interest.”

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/communitiesuk/
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