Is the Government ready to step up house building?

On 14 July, the Daily Mail reported that the Government is ready to take on local authorities in order to deliver the homes the UK needs.

An anonymous official told the Daily Mail that the Government was willing to increase its annual house building target up to 300,000, as well as identifying local authorities adopting a not-in-my-back-yard (NIMBY) approach.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has repeatedly pointed out that the UK needs to build at least 300,000 homes each year to start addressing its housing shortage, as well as highlighting the key role of local authorities in enabling housing supply and ensuring affordability.

Small and medium-sized (SME) house builders, including several NFB members, would very much welcome these reports because they normally build on small sites, more quickly than volume developers, and are more negatively affected by planning delays and poorly-conceived local plans.

The NFB has experienced good cooperation from the Government on methods to tackle the housing crisis, which was reflected in the Housing White Paper’s proposal to split up large building sites.

Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor for the NFB, commented:

“Comments reportedly made by the unnamed official in the Daily Mail echo the ambitions of the Housing White Paper, which expect councils to meet their local targets or face a top-down planning imposition from the secretary of state.

“Recent announcements on infrastructure funding were extremely welcomed by the industry but – without the final version of the Housing White Paper – supply will still only be enabled under a broken system.”

The NFB calls on the Government to publish the final version of the Housing White Paper and implement its measures at the earliest possible opportunity. While there is much work to do, the Housing White Paper will not just help identify under-performing councils in need of assistance, but reveal the most and least efficient parts of our planning system and help increase the building of new homes.