Sharma to face Commons committee over housing need

CLG Committee to question housing minister on proposed changes to housing need assessment.

aloka sharma

The Communities and Local Government Committee will examine proposed changes to the way the need for new homes is calculated for each council in a one-off evidence session with housing minister, Alok Sharma.

Government’s ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’ consultation is aimed at finding a new standardised methodology for assessing housing need on a council-by-council basis, replacing inconsistent methods used across different authorities at present.

The committee will question Sharma on Nov 1 ahead of the consultation closure on Nov 9.

That consultation also announced the government’s intention to produce a revised National Planning Policy Framework in early 2018.

The committee will seek to probe the minister on his plans for that revision as well as a range of wider housing policy issues, such as the government’s proposed reforms to the private rented sector and intergenerational housing issues.

CLG committee chair, Clive Betts MP, said: “The way housing need is assessed varies greatly by local authority and this committee has long called for the government to revise its guidance on strategic housing market assessments and produce an agreed methodology.

“However, the government’s proposals have so far proved controversial, with some industry experts suggesting that over a hundred local authorities would see a fall in the assessed number of new homes needed, with a shift in the general housing need from the north of England to the south.

“We’re keen to question the minister on the department’s latest thinking and we’re also looking forward to putting some questions to him on other housing issues, such as the government’s proposed reforms to the private rented sector and the home buying process, as well as ongoing issues related to the White Paper such as land banking.”

The minister last appeared before the committee with the secretary of state earlier this month.

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