Jan Crosby, Head of Housing for KPMG in the UK, comments on today’s ‘Productivity Plan’ announcement and its impact on planning and development.
“While Wednesday’s Budget lacked any real commitment to solving the housing crisis, today’s announcements give much needed focus on tackling the issue of supply. Building on brownfield sites will undoubtedly face objections from local communities, but releasing these sites is a vital step to build the homes we need. Imposing housing plans on councils should tackle nimybism, but close collaboration is still key to ensure the homes built are the homes right for the community.
“But all of this is still just the tip of the iceberg and we must hope that these reforms lead to a domino effect. The Government must dig deeper into the reform of the land market itself: currently it is overpriced, non-transparent and too centrally controlled to operate effectively.
“Alongside this we must deal with ability to build. Even if big house builders can access land and obtain planning permission, they alone can’t solve the housing crisis. We need to encourage a more diverse and resilient house building sector. The Housing Growth Partnership is a start but the Government should set up a National Housing Investment Bank, backed by new housing ISAs, giving loans and guarantees to smaller house builders. For local authorities, who will be under pressure from today’s announcement, the cap on their borrowing should be raised, recognising that councils aren’t just there to grant permission but can become major house builders themselves once more.
“So while this is a welcome announcement to kick start supply, the housing sector will be looking to the Chancellor to keep up the pace of change and make this about strategy, not about headlines.”
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Frances Shennan, KPMG Corporate Communications
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This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.