Can we build build build?

By Chris Seeley · 1 July 2020

It is good to see housing mentioned in front of a range of alternative infrastructure projects when the PM spoke yesterday.

Boris says there is the opportunity “to build the homes, to fix the NHS, to tackle the skills crisis, to mend the indefensible gap in opportunity and productivity and connectivity between the regions of the UK”. So homes which have been suspiciously off the agenda in the lead up to his speech were placed front and centre and that is a great relief. Hopefully the NHF / CIH led #HomesAttheHeart campaign is making some headway and we very much support that initiative.

In response to the PM’s “build, build, build” message, Kate Henderson the CE of the NHF said: “The government has an opportunity to put social rent homes – homes for people on the lowest incomes – at the heart of social and economic recovery through the Affordable Homes Programme. These homes are needed now more than ever and should make up the lion share of the AHP”. With no detail on further spend for social and affordable housing and a commitment to “bring forward the most radical reforms of our planning system, since the end of the Second World War.” one has to have a concern that the Government does not lose track of the opportunity to, as Ms Henderson puts it, “change the lives of the people who have been most effected by the coronavirus crisis – low paid keyworkers, families in overcrowded and temporary accommodation and people who have been helped off the streets”

It is clear that the Government wants to assist the housing market and the PM stated a desire to “address that intergenerational injustice and help young people get on the housing ladder in the way that their parents and grandparents could” but we would be disappointed if the market is the only part of the housing sector to gain the significant boost that is both needed and now seemingly promised.

So some progress against the leaks of the weekend, with housing centre stage and the possibility that Homes really will be at the Heart of the recovery. We await the detail with interest – A July Budget?

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