Initial thoughts from housing leaders as the prime minister unexpectedly calls a 4 July election

This article will be updated with more reaction as it comes in

Housing leaders have been reacting to Rishi Sunak’s unexpected decision to call a general election for 4 July, with many expressing hope the poll will provide much-needed certainty over the direction of housing policy.

sunak election

Rishi Sunak announced he was going to the country in the pouring rain outside 10 Downing Street earlier this evening

Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said the election “provides an opportunity to place housing at the centre of the public discourse”.

Referencing the CIH’s 10-point plan to increase housing delivery and improve existing homes, Smart said “there is a blueprint for a new government to adopt that will help address the housing crisis.” The CIH’s plan includes more investment in social homes, measures to improve the planning process, more decent homes funding and measures to improve conditions in the private rented sector.

Adam Lawrence, chief executive of housebuilder London Square, said we “need a new government now with a clear mandate to drive the UK forward.”

He said: “We have been in limbo for so long.

“We welcome clarity. It will be good for the housing sector and business generally.”

Jamie Ratcliff, chief communities and sustainability officer at newly-merged 80,000-home association Sovereign Network Group described housing as a “critical issue” for the electorate, He said voters will expect “serious” manifesto pledges that treat housing as critical national infrastructure.

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“Certainty of who will be governing the country will very welcome and whoever forms the next government must equally give certainty to the housing sector, supporting us to provide the good, affordable homes that are urgently needed,” Ratcliff added.

Meanwhile, Clare Miller, chief executive of Clarion Housing Group, said the old financial model for social housing “is no longer working” and called for the parties to commit to investing in housing.

She said: “Inflation his hit our sector hard. The cost of construction is up and the supply chain yet to recover fully from the pandemic and the mini Budget of 2022.

 “Hope is not lost. By investing in social housing, governments invest in health. They invest in jobs, and they invest in the future. I hope that when the new government takes office we can make some changes and invest in housing together.”

Simon McWhirter, deputy chief executive of UK Green Building Council, said the poll is the “built environment election”. He said: “With the linked environmental, nature and cost of living crises; this is the most important election in a generation.

“Our buildings are the nexus of how we can solve many of these pressing challenges while delivering homes, offices and public buildings that are warmer, more comfortable, cheaper to run, and which tread lighter on the planet.”

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation took to social media to re-iterate her call for the political parties to adopt a long-term housing plan.

Spencer McCarthy, chair and chief executive of Churchill Retirement Living said the next government must appoint a dedicated Minister for Later Living.

He said: “An ageing UK population, coupled with a creaking NHS and insufficient housing provision is creating a perfect storm for a demographic so often cruelly forgotten by policymakers. A dedicated Minister for Later Living should be briefed to act on the links between all departments to put older people front and centre.”