Making a difference – Key Housing Policy highlights for the HFi
At the Housing and Finance Institute we have been working across industry and the public sector to help more homes to be delivered faster. As part of our work we make recommendations to Government on how to deliver the homes our country needs.
It is fantastic to see so many of the Housing & Finance Institute recommendations taken forward in the Autumn Budget 2017.
This post is looking at the key highlights from HFi recommendations. We will be posting separately on our industry assessment and the issues we highlighted in our pre-budget briefing.
The HFi six favourite highlights from Budget 2017 are:
1. Planning reform
The HFi's Chairman, Sir Mark Boleat, recommended radical change to the planning system including better land use and densification in urban areas such as London (Mark Boleat, 2017)
We strongly welcome planning reform as an area for action in the Budget in line with Sir Mark's work (Budget 5.6, 5.10, 5.11)
2. Housing the Regions
The HFi have long recommended a more regionally based housing delivery approach that gives flexibility in funding and powers at the grassroots, along with more money (From the Shore to the Shires, 2016)
We welcome greater funding flexibility, including £1billion extra borrowing powers and cheaper public funding for infrastructure, for local councils who are committed to housing growth (Budget 4.54, 5.14).
3. Keeping developers contributions
The HFi have called for local flexibility in funding section 106 payments so that they can be kept and deployed locally rather than being handed back to the developer (Better Connections, 2017).
We welcome the consultation on changes to section 106 restrictions and new approaches to CIL to make it easier for local infrastructure to be funded and delivered better (Budget 5.14).
4. Additional financing powers for infrastructure
The HFi have called for additional money and financing powers for infrastructure investments (Better Connections 2017. How to Build More Homes Faster, 2016).
We welcome the indication that more areas will be allowed to put forward proposals to advance fund their local infrastructure work (Budget 5.14), the more than doubling of the infrastructure budget to £24 Billion (Budget 4.41) as well as a near doubling of the housing infrastructure fund to £5 Billion (Budget 5.18).
5. Real time information about what homes are being built and where
The HFi have called for publicly available real time supply chain information on what homes are being built and when they are ready to be occupied (Better Connections 2017)
We welcome the new register of planning permissions that will provide significantly better information about what homes are being built and where (Budget 5.13).
6. How to Build More Homes, Faster
The HFi have produced pioneering work on how to build more homes, faster. There is much more that can be done to close the gap between land, planning permissions and homes ready to be occupied. (How to Build More Homes, Faster 2016, Shore to Shires 2016, Better Connections 2017)
We strongly welcome Sir Oliver Letwin's review on closing the build out gap and look forward to contributing to it (Budget 5.12).
...with a record £44 Billion investment, an ambition of up to 300,000 homes a year and proper planning reform, this is a budget that is full of promise for a step-change in housing over the next decade. This is an ambitious and exciting budget that puts housing in the driving seat to build the homes the country needs.