BSRIA welcomes the Lyons’ Housing Review independent report – released today – which sets out five key actions to deliver the sustained increase in house building needed to tackle the nation’s housing challenges.
A key conclusion of the report is that, while it is right that more can and should be done to help more people own their own home, there will remain people for whom home ownership is not an option or the preferred choice. There is a drastic need for more subsidised affordable homes alongside additional homes for private rent. More needs to be done to get more organisations both public and private to build, commission and invest in housing.
The report goes on to welcome the priority government has given to housing and its commitment to delivering a million homes over the course of the current Parliament. It assesses whether current policy initiatives will be sufficient to achieve that target and makes recommendations for the development of a more comprehensive strategy to deliver to effectively tackle the housing crisis.
Public concern about housing is at the highest for 40 years. The original Lyon’s Review made it clear that a ‘step change’ in house building is ‘critical to the health of the national economy and the quality of life and life chances of current and future generations’.
Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “BSRIA welcomes this timely and important review which supports our long running coverage of the housing issue. But all the supply chain ‘stars’ must align, namely: volume builders, small builders, the investors who want to build high quality homes to rent, local authorities anxious to meet housing needs and housing associations concerned with lost rental income. And the wider panorama which includes mortgage lenders and first time buyers.
The consistent message from BSRIA is that how is any building or construction going to be built when there is a severe skills shortage in terms of both quantity and quality in the industry?
Some of the ‘offsite’ building and zero waste methods that are currently being adopted do signify an exciting movement which can be explored more and offer the potential for changes within the industry.
In essence, economic growth – for both the UK and the industry – is imperative. The confidence to invest in major housebuilding projects is key to unlocking housing growth.”
The Commission’s key recommendations to government are:
1) Broaden the housing strategy beyond the focus on home ownership to increase supply of both market and affordable homes for rent to secure sustainable growth in housing supply and lasting capacity in the house building supply chain.
2) Take a more ambitious approach to direct commissioning to deliver high quality and increase output and capacity through capturing land value to fund infrastructure, attracting a more diverse range of partners into housebuilding and building a mix of homes for sale and rent.
3) Work more closely with the industry in developing the model for starter homes to ensure an overall increase in homes and that the public subsidy of these homes exists in perpetuity to benefit future generations of house buyers and does not result in a reduction of affordable homes to rent.
4) Clearly acknowledge the importance of the contribution that local authorities and housing associations have to make to tackling the housing supply crisis; ensure local authorities have the flexibilities and support needed to promote, finance and commission new homes; and give housing associations the certainty they need to plan long term.
5) Ensure that government policies place greater emphasis on championing the highest quality of design and environmental standards for new homes and the places in which they are built.
Notes to editors
Official house building statistics indicate that 155,000 homes were built in 2014-15 which is still almost 100,000 homes per year short of achieving the government’s ambition.