Last edited 19 Jan 2016

Housing Strategy for England

Laying the foundations: a housing strategy for England was published by the government in November 2011 to promote choice, flexibility and affordability in housing. The aim of the strategy was; to get Britain building again; laying the foundations for a more responsive, effective and stable housing market; supporting choice and quality for tenants; improving environmental standards and design quality.

The strategy suggested that ‘…In 2009/10, there were 115,000 new build housing completions in England. Meanwhile, the latest household projections suggest that the number of households will grow by 232,000 per year (average annual figure until 2033).’

The initiatives set out in the Housing Strategy for England included:

  • Investing £400 million in new developments, supporting house builders requiring finance, including small and medium sized builders.
  • Supporting 100,000 households through the mortgage indemnity scheme designed with the Home Builders Federation and Council of Mortgage Lenders to offer 95% loan value mortgages for new build projects in England.
  • Freeing up public sector land with build now pay later schemes for developers, releasing enough land to construct 100,000 new homes and creating up to 200,000 new jobs in the construction industry.
  • Implementing a new £500 million Growing Places fund in order to support infrastructure.
  • Helping first time buyers by earmarking £400 million for First Buy, to help buyers by offering an equity loan of up to 20%.
  • Consultations with local authorities to rethink plans where developments have stalled.
  • Providing £30 million in a Custom Homes programme to encourage self-build homes.
  • Committing to the New Homes Bonus and simplifying planning through the National Planning Policy Framework.
  • Reforming the Housing Revenue Act and social housing management through the Localism Act.
  • Offering discounts to Right to buy owners.
  • Introducing HomeSwap Direct, to enable social tenants to manage moving homes themselves.
  • Focussing on value for money with social housing and councils not obliged to have open waiting lists.
  • Giving social landlords the power to identify and recover fraudulently used properties.
  • Allowing social landlords to charge market orientated rents from people earning very high salaries.
  • Preventing people seeking social housing who already have suitable homes.
  • Encouraging competition and innovation between landlords.
  • Reviewing barriers to investing in private rented properties and offering financial incentives.
  • Reforming stamp duty land tax and real estate investment trusts.
  • Encouraging build to let schemes.
  • Working with local authorities to tackle the worst properties.
  • Helping private landlords understand basic requirements of managing rental properties.
  • Funding £100 million to bring empty homes back into use.
  • Consultations on premiums added to council tax if homes are left unattended for over two years.
  • Awarding the New Homes Bonus to empty homes brought back into use.
  • A new deal for older people’s housing and £51 million in handyperson schemes for repairs and adaptations.
  • Allocating £400 million to prevent homelessness.
  • Offering service personnel priority for social housing.
  • Funding the Design Council to support local communities.
  • Ensuring new homes will meet the Zero Carbon Homes standard from 2016.
  • Reviewing the building regulations to improve energy efficiency and carbon emissions standards for new buildings.
  • Committing to the Green Deal for renovations and boosting energy efficiency.

NB on 10 July 2015, the government published ‘Fixing the foundations: creating a more prosperous nation’ a government plan for increasing Britain’s productivity. Amongst a great number of wide-ranging changes, the report states, 'The government does not intend to proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards, but will keep energy efficiency standards under review, recognising that existing measures to increase energy efficiency of new buildings should be allowed time to become established.'

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