There are not enough opportunities for SMEs to enter the market to deliver affordable housing. To resolve this, we would propose creating a more permissive planning environment, without eroding standards, through a new ‘small sites planning policy’ for those developing small sites that offer the homes as affordable housing. As a result, if their sites meet certain criteria, then SME developers should benefit from a presumption in favour of development and be exempt from CIL or any future Infrastructure Levy. Our research highlights that almost 30,000 new affordable homes per annum could be delivered this way.
Streamline our confused range of affordable housing definitions and the fiscal consequences that relate to them: social housing; intermediate housing; genuinely affordable housing; London Living Rent housing; Discounted Market Sale housing; shared ownership homes – and clarify why some categories are CIL or Infrastructure Levy exempt and others are not.
Introduce a potential exemption for affordable housing within the government’s proposed new Infrastructure Levy as part of the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill. For as currently drafted the Bill contains no automatic exemption for affordable housing.
The government should also consider relaunching help-to-buy as a first-time buyer support mechanism before scrapping it completely. This has been one of the few innovative and helpful policies in recent years and it would be facile to scrap it now when we are facing a 40% to 50% drop in housing starts due to affordability constraints; perennial planning problems and massive inflation in the construction sector.
Chief executive Marc Vlessing said: “No one has suffered more than millennials from the shocking fact that we haven’t even got close to solving a situation where annual home completions come anywhere near meeting first time-buyer demand. It’s a scandal that this generation many of whom are poorly paid, have little job security and massive student debt – are being punished with a double whammy of limited supply and now soaring inflation.”