Chancellor George Osbourne should use tomorrow’s budget statement to unveil a “seismic shift” in Britain’s housing targets, according to leading homes developer Home Group. The group are calling for a radical building programme to create 245,000 new homes each year.
Millions of people up and down the country will be eagerly anticipating George Osbourne’s Budget speech tomorrow, but perhaps none more so than those within the housing sector. According to the latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government, Britain is falling far behind in the race to build new homes. It’s estimated that it would require over 200,000 new homes a year, for supply to catch up with demand and those within the building trade and those looking to buy new homes, will be hoping that the Chancellor announces a real programme for home building.
Chancellor George Osbourne has already announced a new garden city to be built at Ebbsfleet in the South East of England, but the 15,000 new homes that will be incorporated in that new development are a mere drop in the ocean.
One of Britain’s largest homes developers, Home Group, have stated their belief that the government should be doing more to help nurture building, and have outlined a few key factors to achieving a greater supply. They propose the development of Housing Zones across the country, placing a greater emphasis on simpler planning processes and managed by joint venture partnerships. They also propose the creation of a Housing Investment Bank.
The demands set out by Home Group echo those proposed by the National Housing Federation, who last month also called for simpler planning procedures to “drive forward (a) new housing supply more quickly and effectively.”
Both the NHF and Home Group called for better use of public land, which is currently being sold off to the highest bidder by local authorities without any thought given to the potential for housing stock.
It’s thought that the Budget will include provisions to build 135,000 new homes over six years, a projection that critics have said “will barely scratch the surface.” One such critic, Phil Shanks, chief executive of Houses for Homes, said, “what this government fails to recognise is that building houses for affordable rent is the only truly sustainable method of addressing need.”
Mr Shanks also called for more land to made available to housing associations.
Mark Henderson, chief executive of Home Group, said that Chancellor Osbourne and the coalition government “now needs to demonstrate its intent to deliver affordable homes for all, irrespective of ownership.”
Mr Henderson said that the Budget was the perfect opportunity for the Coalition to “write their names in the record books by delivering the largest house building programme in UK history.”
Speaking to Housing News, Mr Henderson said that his organisations’ budget recommendations clearly set out “the strategies required to deliver on a scale to meet the number of new families formed each year and to clear the waiting list backlog.”
The Coalition government are in an unenviable situation; similar to the post-war Labour government was following their election in 1945. The modern day Labour Party have already put forward their proposal in a new “Help To Build” scheme, designed to help small to medium home builders to produce more homes. But, as always, it is the party in power to which all eyes will be turned tomorrow.
Will Chancellor Osbourne deliver the news that homebuilders and buyers want to hear? Or will we still be discussing this issue in a decade’s time?