The Government’s Housing White Paper – One Month On
3 minute read
In early February, the UK Government released a Housing White Paper which admitted that the current property market is “broken”. In the report, ministers promised to build more homes and to make it easier for people to both buy and rent property. From giving local councils the power to pressure developers to start building on land that they own, to making renting more family friendly by lengthening leases, there were some positive-sounding proposals in the white paper, but will any be adhered to? Criticised by Labour as “feeble beyond belief”, will the white paper’s proposals ever come to fruition and will they improve the UK property market if they do? We take a look at the picture one month on.
Let’s start with what the white paper actually outlined. Amongst a raft of proposals, the report recommended: – Providing older people with incentives to downsize their property – Raising a £3bn fund which will help small builders build more homes – Incentivising built-to-let – Forcing developers to build within two years of receiving planning permission
The response to the paper from many in the industry was less than rapturous. Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat claimed: “Our concern is that much housing remains out of reach for a significant number of people and we would like to see the government back up the package of measures announced today with additional funding and resource in the budget.” Meanwhile, Generation Rent director Dan Wilson Craw stated that the white paper had: “the right analysis about the plight of renters, but… failed to offer us anything of substance. By limiting longer tenancies to new purpose-built private rented homes, the government has offered renters the bare minimum.” One month on, many people remain sceptical of the housing paper. Earlier this March, the Centre for London sent an open letter (signed by prominent local authority figures) to Whitehall, calling on Government to follow through on the promises made by the paper, which many continue to believe has very little backbone. Mortgage experts troubled by the lack of “grit” in the white paper also called on Government to reform stamp duty and increase home-building in the UK ahead of the 8th March Spring Budget announcement. Neither issue was mentioned in the Chancellor’s budget, leaving many feeling even more cynical about the impact the white paper will have on the UK’s worsening housing crisis. If you have an opinion on this, we’d love to hear it. You can leave a comment below or post a comment on our Facebook page. For any other mortgage enquiry, please get in touch with our expert brokers today.