A new 10-point plan from the Home Builders Federation shows how policymakers could act fast to boost the supply of new, energy efficient and high-quality homes.
The federation calls this a set of “practical solutions” for the government to remove barriers to building and start providing the nation with much-needed homes.
Following its recent Housing Horizons report - which shows that England is the hardest place in the developed world to find a home - the industry body has now produced a charter called Firm Foundations, which sets out how to radically improve the supply of high-quality new homes.
It claims to provide a blueprint to radically improve the supply of high-quality new homes, while also supporting SME home builders and securing the industry’s future workforce and its path to Net Zero.
The steps of the plan are as follows:
1 Ensure the Government’s plans to increase planning fees mean increased resources for planning departments, who have seen real terms funding cut by over half since 2010.
2 Ensure that local authorities have local plans in place which will meet local housing need.
3 Work with industry to revise rules around nutrient neutrality and end the disproportionate impact on developers, which is currently preventing 145,000 houses from being built.
4 Make the Construction Industry Training Board fit for purpose by reforming the CITB levy to include key occupations for the industry, such as plumbing engineers.
5 Ensure post-16 education and training is focused on employer’s needs
6 Introduce a presumption in favour of development on small sites of up to 25 homes on brownfield land, as part of the planned changes to the National Planning Policy
7 Reform the Standard Method to ensure that new housing is delivered in a proportionate way across the whole country.
8 Ensuring local planning decision makers have a strong statutory duty to give special attention to the needs of older people in local plans and housing needs assessments.
9 Abolish stamp duty for all purchases of homes with an EPC rating of B or above.
10 Facilitate a roundtable with government, industry and lenders to explore the possible expansion of green/energy efficient mortgages.
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, says: “Governments of all colours over decades have failed to tackle systemic issues in our housing and planning system which have led to England becoming the hardest place in the developed world to find a home.
“The King’s Speech represented another missed opportunity to increase housing supply in this country, and nothing to address the disproportionate burden of nutrient neutrality placed on new build homes.
“Major legislative change, while needed, would take time to come into effect. Given the urgency of country’s housing crisis we’ve laid out practical steps Ministers can and should implement now to address the barriers impacting housing supply and make sure more people have access to decent homes.”
He believes the plan shows how properly resourcing local authority planning departments, revising the rules around nutrient neutrality, and abolishing stamp duty on more energy-efficient homes could unlock development.
Home builders are also calling for measures which would tackle some of the long-term challenges facing the sector, including reforming post-16 skills education to better meet the needs of business, and making planning policy more favourable to small and medium size developers.
And the HBF claims that if implemented, this plan would make a decisive contribution to overcoming systemic issues facing the housing sector and give people all over the country a chance of finding a good quality, affordable home.