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Stimulating housing supply - Government initiatives (England)

Published Friday, June 9, 2017

This Commons Library Briefing Paper summarises the 2015 Government's key initiatives aimed at increasing housing supply in England.

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1 million net additions 

The 2015 Government’s ambition was to secure 1 million net additions to the housing stock by the end of the Parliament which was expected to be in 2020.

The Department for Communities and Local Government’s Single Departmental Plan 2015-2020 set out an aim to secure 400,000 affordable housing starts by 2020-21 (including Starter Homes), increase housing supply by improving the planning process, bring forward public sector land, and diversify the house building industry by helping small builders.

The Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market (February 2017) described a number of initiatives which, taken together, were aimed at securing a step-change in housing supply.

Home ownership

A number of initiatives are focused on facilitating the purchase of housing, particularly by first-time buyers, through the introduction of savings products such as the Help to Buy and Lifetime ISAs, and also through equity loans and the development of Starter Homes. These homes will be available at a 20% discount off the market price to first-time buyers between the ages of 23 and 40.

Affordable housing

There was an aim to provide 225,000 units through the Affordable Homes Programme up to 2021. This provision would be a mixture of affordable rent (rents set at up to 80% of market rents), shared ownership and rent-to-buy products. There appeared to be little scope for the development of social rented housing as part of this programme.

Private development

There was an expectation that the majority of new building would be carried out by the private sector. To this end, much 2015 Government effort to stimulate house-building was focused on planning measures to “make the system more open and accessible and tackle unnecessary delays.” Developers with planning permission would be expected to use it and local authorities would be expected to have an up-to-date plan in place based on an objective assessment of housing need within the area. The 2015  Government was also seeking to diversify the housing market by encouraging development by smaller builders and those interested in embracing innovative and efficient methods of construction.

Other relevant Library briefing papers

Detailed information on 2015 Government action to improve the planning system can be found in these Library briefing papers Planning for Housing (03741); Planning Reform Proposals (6418); and Planning reform in the housing white paper (7896).

Library briefing paper Tackling the under-supply of housing in England (7671), considers key trends in housing supply in the UK and goes on to focus on some of the of the key barriers and potential solutions to increasing supply in England.



Commons Briefing papers SN06416

Author: Wendy Wilson

Topics: Housing, Housing supply, Owner occupation, Private rented housing, Social rented housing

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