Gove unveils pre-election plans to address the housing crisis, including brownfield planning reforms

Michael Gove has announced a £3bn increase in a government-backed loan fund aimed at helping registered providers to build thousands of new affordable homes.

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The expansion of the government’s Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, which provides low-cost loans to housing providers, will support the delivery of 20,000 new homes.

The housing secretary is also expected to announce an extension to the law allowing commercial buildings to be converted into homes without planning permission, to apply to shops and offices of any size.

Gove will announce reforms to planning rules on Tuesday, which will mean councils are not able to obstruct developers trying to convert brownfield sites.

As part of the changes, planning permission would be automatically granted for brownfield sites.

Shadow housing secretary Angela Rayner has said that the plans to reform planning rules for brownfield sites are a “rehash” of old ideas. 

>> See also: Big housebuilders ‘comfortable’ with lack of innovation, says Gove

>> See also: Gove officially waters down housing targets

Yesterday, the secretary of state again pledged to end no-fault evictions, stating that they will be banned before the general election.

In October last year, the government said that no-fault evictions would be indefinitely delayed until the court system has been reformed.

Gove was clear that section 21 evictions will be banned this year: “We will have outlawed it, and we will put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce it.”

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Gove said that he is lobbying the chancellor to use next month’s budget to pump more funding into housing.

“Every day I send him a note or a message emphasising the importance of doing more to unlock housing supply,” he said.

It is understood that the government is also considering making cuts to stamp duty and a mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers that would only require a 1% deposit.

A Fair Deal for Housing

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Housing Today’s A Fair Deal for Housing campaign is calling for the government to launch a review to look how to increase affordable housing delivery to 100,000 homes a year.

This should consider overhauling existing funding for affordable housing so that a more ambitious programme can be delivered. 

The report suggests the review could look at grant rates for affordable housing, a longer-term rent settlement for social housing providers, a time-limited stimulus package to counteract the high cost of private funding and at mechanisms to lever in more institutional finance for ‘for-profit’ registered providers.

The campaign is also caling for measures to reform the planning system, boost private housing delivery and make regeneration easier.

Click here to read more about the campaign