30 January 2019

NFB: planning reform is the only way to build more social homes

In a speech given at London First Building Summit this morning, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire announced that the Government will make £497 million of funding available to build 11,000 social homes across the country.

Arguing that new housing in the capital “will be key” to reach the target of 300,000 new homes a year across the country, Brokenshire said: “There’s no question that we need to raise our game urgently – to seize every opportunity to boost supply across the capital and key transport corridors.”

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomes the Government’s renewed emphasis on social housing and praises the Government for showing a more substantial approach towards solving the housing crisis.

Previous administrations were content with the number of social homes being built. However, the tone has changed completely over the last six months and this should be recognised. The Government is now investing greater amounts in social housing through housing associations and Homes England, as well as lifting the housing borrowing cap on local authorities.

Although more remains to be done on planning reform, the Government should feel inspired to be bold and put money and solutions in place to make further progress to solve the housing crisis. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:

“Despite not being new money, this decision shows the Government is listening and taking action. It’s not enough, but it’s a first step in the right direction towards building more social and affordable homes.”

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy for the House Builders Association (HBA), said:

“Brokenshire needs to seize every opportunity to build more homes, but the greatest obstacle remains the slow and expensive planning process which prevents us from getting our shovels in the ground. From Essex to Eccleston, as long as the planning system remains broken and unreformed, we will never build the 800 homes a day we so desperately need.”