New Lords committee to take on growing housing demand
New Built Environment Lords Committee will look at the government’s housing target, the impact of reforms to the planning system and how barriers to meeting housing demand can be overcome.
The House of Lords has created a new select committee to look at the built environment. We have been appointed to look at housing, planning, transport and infrastructure. The built environment shapes all our lives: how and where we all live, how we get to work and travel for leisure, the health and sustainability of our communities, and how we live in our older age and protect the most vulnerable in society.
We will be taking on the housing crisis in the UK for our first inquiry, conscious of the risk to society unless the massive demand for housing is met. We will be looking at the government’s target, the impact of reforms to the planning system and how barriers to meeting housing demand can be overcome.
What is the right balance between private ownership, privately rented homes, and social housing?
According to the ONS, the number of households in England is projected to rise from 23.2 million in 2018 to 26.9 million in 2043 – an average increase of around 150,000 households per year. We are looking to find out how demographic and other trends will shape housing demand and whether the government’s 300,000 annual housing target is the right one. We also want to hear what the type, tenure and quality of new homes should be – what is the right balance between private ownership, privately rented homes, and social housing?
We also want to know how barriers to meeting this demand can be overcome. This is linked to significant skills shortages in the construction, planning and design sectors and expected reforms of the planning system. Is local and central government coordinating properly? What can be done to ensure housing demand can be met?
As the digital revolution transforms our housing sector, we will be asking what opportunities there are for new ways of doing things and what new skills those building our homes will need.
The creation of our committee shows that the House of Lords is committed to scrutinising important issues that affect everyone’s daily lives. Our membership reflects the expertise of the House, ranging from those involved in housing and regeneration projects to transport experts to members with expertise in how local government works.
The committee is uniquely placed to scrutinise the government’s approach to these wide-ranging issues which span several departments. We want to hear from a wide and diverse range of stakeholders and will make recommendations to the government about what must be done to improve our built environment. We are also interested to learn from international comparisons.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe is a Conservative peer.
We will be holding our first evidence session next Tuesday and will report by the end of the year. You can follow us on Twitter or visit our website.
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