The Housing & Finance Institute's latest Housing Celebrate event was a great success again this year. Hosted in the House of Lords by HFi Board Member, Lord Kerslake, with fantastic speakers and delegates, representing the wide variety of businesses, organisations, councils and bodies that make up the housing sector.
This year's Housing Celebrate revolved around the HFi's four-year anniversary since its creation in the 2015 Budget, following a recommendation made in the Elphicke-House Review. Since 2015, the HFi has been superbly chaired by Sir Mark Boleat, who stepped down earlier this year and was succeeded by our new Chairman, Sir Steve Bullock DL. The key theme of the event was the celebration of the HFi's work to date and the excellent chairmanship by Sir Mark as well as opportunities available in the sector to build more homes, faster.
We were delighted to have a terrific line-up of speakers, speaking candidly and sharing their expertise on housing. On the day, we heard from: The Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP; Natalie Elphicke OBE, Chief Executive of the HFi; Lord Kerslake, Chair of Peabody, HFi Board Member and Head of the Civil Service (2012-2014); Sir Mark Boleat, HFi Chairman (2015-2019); Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the City of London's Policy and Resources Committee; and Sir Steve Bullock DL, HFi Chairman.
Lord Kerslake opened the event by explaining the history of the Housing and Finance Institute, in particular, the Elphicke-House Review. A review which considered how councils can help to increase housing supply for their communities across all tenures – and how councils could become Housing Delivery Enablers. Explaining that the HFi has now worked with over 80 councils and published 13 reports – making a real difference to increasing skills, capacity and housing delivery.
Brandon Lewis, as the then Housing Minister, launched the Housing & Finance Institute in 2015, we were therefore delighted to have the current Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP, to speak at this year's event.
The Housing Minister was clear, "We need a light bulb moment... if everyone who builds stands shoulder to shoulder, we could deliver the homes that people need." A light bulb moment like that of the founder of McDonald's, Ray Kroc, when he realised he was running a real estate business not a burger business. Housing too, according to the Minister, needs a light bulb moment.
Kit Malthouse MP was also kind enough to heap praise on the Housing & Finance Institute, congratulating the organisation on all the hard work over the last four years and for bringing together finance, the private sector and local authorities to ensure we build more homes, faster. He also praised the terrific leadership of our Chief Executive, Natalie Elphicke, for all her work in the sector, urging delegates to "listen to what she has to say".
At the Institute, we were particularly pleased to hear the Housing Minister describe the HFi as at "the hub of wheel" and that we would be at the "the heart of the project" to ensure we work together to build the homes we need.
We were also delighted to welcome so many of our Housing Business Ready councils to the Housing Celebrate event. Among the councils we have worked with over the last four years, we were joined by the three winning councils from the HBR Springboard programme – Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. These three councils, which are doing a huge amount to deliver more good quality homes in their areas, will also be presenting at the LGA Conference this year.
Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the City of London's Policy and Resources Committee, spoke about the importance of working together in the public and private sectors. She pledged her and the City's support for building more homes, faster as well as commending the hard work and commitment of Sir Mark Boleat, not only at the HFi but also at the City of London Corporation.
Catherine stressed the importance of leadership in setting a clear agenda, and in that vein led a toast to Sir Mark.
In a characteristically entertaining and informative speech, Sir Mark talked us through his time as Chairman of the HFi and, in particular, his views on planning. Planning is something Sir Mark feels very strongly about and an issue he championed as Chairman, in 2017 he wrote a paper setting out his views, 'The Housing Problem in London', click here to read his report in full.
Our new Chairman, Sir Steve Bullock, finished the event by thanking all of those who attended the event, as well as the speakers, and especially Sir Mark Boleat for all his hard work over the past four years. The rest of the HFi team would like to extend our thanks to all those we have worked with over the last four years and to PegasusLife for sponsoring the event.