A Fair Deal for Housing campaign makes initial recommendations in bid to boost development to 300,000 homes a year and beyond

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Housing Today’s A Fair Deal for Housing campaign has today called for a review of affordable housing funding and changes to the planning system in a bid to boost development to 300,000 homes a year and beyond.

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Our A Fair Deal for Housing campaign, working in collaboration with the Building the Future Commission, has today published 21 recommendations to boost housing delivery.

The recommendations are intended to spark debate and influence politicians in the run-up to the general election. It forms part of a wider Building the Future Commission piece of research out today covering eight broad areas affecting the construction and housebuilding industry.

>>Click here to read the detailed housing and planning recommendations

On housing the report’s recommendations cover four main areas: significantly increasing affordable housing delivery; raising private sector supply; boosting brownfield regeneration and estate redevelopment; and reforming the planning system.

Housing Today calls on the next government to commission a review to identify how to increase affordable housing output to 100,000 homes a year.

It should consider reviewing existing funding for affordable housing so that a more ambitious programme can be delivered. The Chartered Institute of Housing has said an estimated £700m would be needed for every additional 10,000 social rented homes.

The report said: “Boosting affordable supply would both help those with the most acute housing problems, as well as assist in retaining and/or boosting capacity in the residential development sector.

“Affordable housing supply can be used to boost housing delivery during periods of market downturn, so public money can act in a counter-cyclical manner to even out the boom-bust nature of the housing market cyclical, as per the recommendations of the Redfern Review.”

The report also 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.

To boost private supply, the report calls on the government to bring forward a number of refroms, including implementing the recommendations of Oliver Letwin’s Independent Review of Build Out, to ensure more rapid delivery of permissioned sites. The report calls for the government ot use Homes England’s procurement to boost SME housebuilding and to consider amending the definition of “small sites” in planning policy (currently 10 units) in order that builders beyond simply micro-enterprises can benefit from local planning policies designed to benefit small firms.

The report outlines measures to boost regeneration and brownfield development. These include reviewing funding for infrastructure in order to support major housing schemes and an assessment of potential tax incentives.


Recommendation 1: Measures to significantly boost the supply of affordable housing

A Fair Deal for Housing and The Building the Future Commission recommend the government commissions an immediate review with the aim of identifying how to significantly increase affordable housing output, to closer to 100,000 homes a year. While not being prescriptive on outcomes, this review should specifically consider:

  • Reviewing the existing funding settlement for affordable housing
  • The need for a time-limited stimulus package
  • A longer-term rent settlement for affordable housing
  • Government stepping in to underwrite loans to the sector
  • A review of mechanisms that might be needed to lever in more institutional finance
  • Looking specifically at grant rates for the affordable housing programme

Recommendation 2: Measures to boost private sector housing supply

  • Implement the recommendations of Letwin review of Build Out
  • Consider more broadly how to develop a stronger model for developing large sites, urban extensions and new towns
  • Utilise Homes England’s procurement to boost SME housebuilding
  • Consider amending the definition of “small sites” in planning policy
  • Take forward the “Street Votes” proposals
  • Bring forward plans to prompt lenders to offer green mortgages for energy efficient houses 

Recommendation 3: Measures to boost brownfield regeneration and estate redevelopment

  • Review and revise existing government funding for infrastructure
  • If necessary, consider bringing forward additional funding pots
  • Review what specific government measures could be taken to encourage brownfield and estate renewal and redevelopment schemes
  • Undertake a full cost-benefit analysis of the need for a second staircase in residential properties 

Recommendation 4: Measures to reform the planning system

  • Properly resource the planning system
  • Ensure that local plans are put in place
  • Reinstate a strategic planning tier to take key decisions, such as on housing numbers and green belt where it most makes sense
  • Simplifying and standardising the system of planning contributions 

The latest recommendations follow on the back of the Building the Future Commission’s report on the planning system in the summer. This calls for the reintroduction of a strategic planning tier to take key decisions – such as on housing numbers and the green belt – where it most makes sense, in order to avoid problems with local development constraints.

The Building the Future Commission, launched to mark the  180th anniversary of Housing Today’s sister title Building, ran throughout 2023 and explores solutions to improve the built environment in eight different areas: net zero; skills and education; building safety; workplace, culture and leadership; housing and planning; infrastructure; project delivery and digital; and creating communities.

The commission was aided by help from its 19 commissioners, all high-profile figures from across the industry. For the full findings and recommendations of the six-month planning study, see the full report here.

Building the Future Commission report: The long-term plan for construction

The housing and planning recommendations form just one chapter of the Building the Future Commission’s wide-ranging report The long-term plan for construction.The Building the Future Commission was a year-long project run by Housing Today’s sister publication Building to improve the built environment. 

The full report contains recommendations to improve the built enviroment across eight policy areas, namely net zero, skills and education, building safety, workplace, culture and leadership, infrastructure, project delivery and digital and creating communication in addition to housing and planning.

This year Building is launching its own industry-backed thinktank to produce more in-depth editorial research on key industry topics.

Download the report for free below.


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