Next PM needs to build ‘more and better homes’

New report outlines a series of policy ideas for the next PM, including incentivising developers to build “beautiful homes and places”.

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Leading think tank Policy Exchange has released a report that urges the next Prime Minster to make “building more and better homes that consumers and communities think are beautiful” a central part of their agenda.

The report released today (12th June), titled What do we want from the next Prime Minister, outlines five separate policy ideas Policy Exchange would like to see Theresa May’s successor implement.

The five policy ideas outlined are:

  • Incentivise developers to build beautiful homes and places by objectively defining what is meant by ‘good design’ in the National Planning Policy Framework and giving preferential treatment in the planning system to schemes that best fulfil the criteria
  • Make downsizing a more worthwhile and attractive option for baby boomers by increasing the number of homes purpose-built for older people
  • Support the redevelopment of ‘big box’ brownfield industrial land into new neighbourhoods in town and city centres
  • Announce a strategic review of government support for first-time buyers with the purpose of replacing the Help To Buy scheme in the next few years
  • Establish a Department for Growth with responsibility for delivering 15 beautiful new towns on the edge of London

Policy Exchange said: “We believe a fairer housing market is one with more choice where people can live in the home they dream of and in the place they want to be.

“To achieve this, more new homes of the sort people want to live in should be built where they are needed. It is as simple as that.”

Within the report, Lord Best OBE, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People, commented: “Housing associations could do a lot more for this age group [older people].

“However, it is clear we also need new players – specialist developers, institutional investors, SMEs and entrepreneurs – who can see the scale of the opportunity.”

Richard Blakeway, chief adviser to Policy Exchange’s Housing and Urban Regeneration Unit, commented: “In all UK cities, it will be necessary for local planning authorities to look again at how land in their area is used.

“Trends in the economy, lifestyles and employment mean that demands on the built environment and changing quite rapidly. Local land use policies should support that, not get in the way.”

Sir Robin Wales, Senior Adviser at Policy Exchange on Local Government, Skills and Housing, commented: “As workers struggle with the challenges of rising housing costs and not enough affordable homes are built where they are needed by traditional housebuilders, now solutions are needed.

“The next government must ask: who are the private sector companies prepared to build 21st century company housing, and how can we support them?”

The Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise, chief executive of Next and founder of the Wolfson Prize, commented: “Despite the abundant rhetoric nothing changes, intertia slowly robs the next generation of the homes it deserves.

“Much greater ambition is needed by all levels of government in dealing with the undersupply of homes in London and the South East.”

Aside from housing, the Policy Exchange report makes a list of policy recommendations regarding Environment & Energy, and is due to add further recommendations on Patriotism, People and Prosperity in the near future.

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