The Lyons Housing Review, commissioned by the Labour party, has set out a comprehensive housing plan designed to meet Labour’s commitment of building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and set a course for doubling the number of first-time buyers over the next decade.
Speaking at the launch of the Lyons Housing Review, Labour leader Ed Miliband revealed three key policies from the study:
- Local authorities will designate new Housing Growth Areas, which will have powers to assemble land and give certainty that building will take place
- It will be mandatory for local authorities to have a Local Plan to meet the housing needs of the community – if not the planning inspectorate can step in to ensure housing needs are not ignored
- A proportion of the homes in the Housing Growth Areas, perhaps half, will be reserved for priority access to first-time buyers for two months. Local authorities will be able to restrict sales so they cannot be sold to buy to let or “buy to leave empty”.
In his introduction to the review he stated that:
“There has been a systematic failure to build the homes our country needs. Too much development land is held as a speculative investment when local people need homes. Too often the trickle of new developments that get completed are snapped up before people from the area can benefit, undermining support for much needed further development. And, for too many young families, the dream of home ownership is fading fast.
“Only Labour has a plan to build the homes that our country, our local communities and our families need. As Ed Balls has said, the next Labour government will make housing a bigger priority within the existing capital settlement for the next parliament.”
The housebuilding industry welcomed Labour’s commitment to delivering new homes, confirming that bringing land forward is vital in creating the homes the country needs.
Home Builders Federation Executive Chairman, Stewart Baseley explained:
“We welcome the commitment by Labour to increase housing supply. Whilst we have seen a big increase in housebuilding activity in recent months, we are still not delivering enough homes to meet the country’s needs. Policies that would result in more land coming forward for development more quickly and further assist first-time buyers would clearly provide a boost to housing supply. We look forward to working with the Labour party to develop their policies as we move towards the general election.”
David Lock CBE, who was a key adviser to Sir Michael Lyons in the preparation of his review, said of its findings:
“The review appears to major on the radical thinking necessary to unlock the constipation in the evidence-plan-deliver system from which housing in the UK suffers at present.
“We cannot expect the current broken housing market to deliver without fundamental changes to vision, policy and mechanisms to make more homes available to the people that need them at prices they can afford – decent homes are a necessity, not a luxury.”
The Lyons Housing Review identifies 39 recommendations aimed at creating the communities so needed throughout the country and as Sir Michael Lyons explains in his introduction to the review:
“Our work is now done and we pass our conclusions and recommendations back to Mr Miliband and his shadow team. We do that with the advice that, across the industry, time after time, we found a desire for a radical improvement in housebuilding and recognition of the importance of strong and consistent leadership by government. Ideally, this should be a matter of consensus between the parties but there is certainly an opportunity here to change this country for the better by building the homes that our children need.”