By Cliff Dalton, Head of Local Government, CIPFA
The long awaited Housing White Paper was finally released on 7 February 2017 under the heading ‘Fixing Our Broken Housing Market’.
Over 100 pages of housing policy and initiatives intended to hurry up a house building programme between now and 2020 (and beyond) and get more people into accommodation.
Help to Buy, rent initiatives, measures to stop ‘land banking’, plans to speed up planning approvals and ‘completion notices’, a favourable nudge towards developing brownfield sites and a real push to engage more with smaller house building companies (and not just rely on the big boys to build the houses of tomorrow): just some of a raft of initiatives contained in the report.
Consultation on the White Paper runs for 12 weeks and will close on 2 May 2017.
CIPFA released its initial press release following the White Paper and is, on the whole, very encouraged by the government’s current drive to place local authorities at the heart of ensuring that their community housing needs of the future are fully met; that all social landlords are given greater scope and more tools to get the community housed and that social rented accommodation is rightfully seen as a credible part of a longer term housing solution.
But equally the White Paper has been branded by some experts as not going far enough or being a ‘damp squib’, with ‘little hope of fixing everything’.
The devil is clearly in the detail. Perhaps this is more a ‘glass is half full’ debate as much as anything else? But the housing sector must now take some time to review and digest all the options and opportunities that the White Paper now affords.
CIPFA has put together a more detailed analysis of the implications of the White Paper. Book now for From the Housing and Planning Act to the White Paper and Beyond: Practical Housing Finance Advice, 7 March 2017, London and 8 March 2017, Manchester.
This event is a great opportunity to fully consider the government's proposals and in turn will provide a chance to get more involved in the consultation process itself. You will also have the chance to work with other practitioners from local authorities and ALMOs on how they see their housing strategy developing over the medium term, under these proposals.