David Cameron delivered the closing speech of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, highlighting his vision for the next five years.
On house building, the prime minister stated that 600,000 homes were built since 2010 and hinted at significant reforms in the planning system. The House Builders Association (HBA) is, however, concerned that this number does not reflect the reality and calls on the government to measure actual homes completed that people can move into, rather than just those started.
David Cameron also said:
“Those old rules which said to developers: you can build on this site, but only if you build affordable homes for rent… we are replacing them with new rules: you can build here, and those affordable homes can be available to buy.”
The House Builders Association welcomes the prime minister’s call for a reform in the planning process. Rico Wojtulewicz, HBA’s policy advisor, said:
“We appreciate the emphasis on simplifying planning rules. However, there is much work that still needs to be done to level the playing field between large volume and SME house builders. For instance, restoring small sites exemption from affordable homes contribution will help ensure that SME house builders can operate in a more collaborative system.”
Wojtulewicz then added:
“Another area for concern remains the extension of Right to Buy to housing association tenants. Although the new version of the policy will allow social landlords to opt-out of this scheme under certain special circumstances, the government must still confront the facts. With only one home built for every nine sold under Right to Buy, the depletion of the social housing stock is a tangible concern. We run the risk of turning Generation Buy into Generation Hard Done Buy.”