We must tackle the root causes of the housing crisis - NFB
Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East, has told the Labour Party that it needs a relentless focus on increasing the supply of homes.
Identifying five key policies, Reynolds recommends:
- stopping Help to Buy;
- lifting the local authority borrowing cap for housing and imposing a moratorium on Right to Buy until all the sold homes have been replaced and lift the local authority borrowing cap for housing;
- stopping speculative development by shaking up the land market, helping small builders compete, and giving councils ‘use it or lose it’ powers;
- giving private tenants better rights, longer tenancies and enforcing higher standards;
- tackling homelessness by increasing local funding for mental health and addiction.
Reynolds went on to say that “There are no quick or simple solutions to the housing crisis. The next Labour government needs to focus all of its energy on solving the problems which are holding back the supply of new homes.”
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) agrees that tenancy security is vital, proper funding for mental health is imperative, and the failure to replace council homes requires a rethink of Right to Buy.
However, we would urge the MP for Wolverhampton North East and the Labour Party more generally to think about the root cause suppressing the supply of new homes.
Small builders identify the planning system as the principal barrier to growth. A land market shakeup is welcome but, under the existing planning process, it would not bring about more homes.
Help to Buy, which aided 81% of first time buyers in 2017, needs to be more targeted and support a more diverse housing market. Often perceived by councils as delivering affordable housing, some small builders offer it on their developments to speed up planning applications.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “Right to Buy and Help to Buy require a rethink and increased funding is required to tackle the causes of rough sleeping. However, if you want to get more homes built, you need an efficient planning and plan-making process.”
“The planning process gets permissions into the hands of housebuilders and identifies where homes will be built. When it fails, so do our efforts to tackle the housing crisis.”