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February 7, 2017

5 things we learnt from the housing white paper

Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for communities and local government delivered the government’s latest housing white paper in the House of Commons today.

The paper set out the government’s approach to fixing the UK’s so-called broken housing sector.

Here is what we learnt from the announcement:

1. House building will be sped up

It’s no secret that the UK isn’t building enough houses to cope with demand.

The government says it will simplify the planning process in order to speed up the completion of new homes.

Of these homes, the government intends to make sure that housing sites deliver a minimum of 10 percent affordable home ownership units.

2. The market needs to diversify

Javid said the lack of competition in the housing market is stifling growth.

The proposition to overcome this is to encourage diversification: a new £3bn ($3.7bn) Home Building Fund is an attempt to boost the number of homes built by SMEs.

The fund will supply loans to SME builders and offsite construction firms.

3. Homeownership is still the prerogative

Help to Buy is still being pushed as a way to help people buy homes with SME builders being encouraged to take up the Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

However, there is also the Starter Homes plan and the Affordable Homes Programme.

Home ownership may be the goal for the government, but the differing schemes don’t always make it so simple for buyers.

4. Renters haven’t been forgotten

The government has said that it will make renting fairer for tenants, in particular by taking action to promote transparency and fairness for renters.

One way it proposes to do this by promoting three-year tenancy agreements — something it announced back in 2014.

As well as this, it wants to amend planning rules so councils can plan and deliver build-to-rent developments.

5. A clear policy to support vulnerable populations

As part of the white paper, the government established a clear way it will attempt to tackle homelessness and vulnerable populations.

It has said it will help the most vulnerable who need support with their housing by developing a sustainable and workable approach to funding supporting housing.

In addition, it pledged to do more to prevent homelessness by supporting households at risk before they reach crisis point, and to attempt to reduce rough sleeping.

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