HBF welcomes housing measures in Queen's speech

Source: www.house-builder.co.uk

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has welcomed housing measures announced in the Queen's Speech, including the proposed Housing Bill.

Stewart Baseley, HBF’s executive chairman, said: “The government’s focus on boosting housing supply in this new parliament is very welcome. Last week saw positive housebuilding figures with activity at its highest since 2007 but we're a long way off building the number of homes the country needs so more action is required.

:The planning process still takes too long to navigate which is detrimental to the prospects of small and medium-sized builders in particular. We need to reduce barriers to entry, cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and get more builders building the homes of tomorrow."

The Housing Bill will provide the framework to allow the Conservatives to extend the Starter Home initiative to deliver 200,000 homes to first-time buyers aged below 40 at 20% below market rate.

It will also create a statutory register for brownfield land so that the government can work towards its target of securing Local Development Orders on 90% of brownfield land suitable for development by 2020.

The Housing Bill will extend Right to Buy to more than 1 million housing association tenants. A "Right to Build" will also be introduced, under which local authorities must identify and release "shovel-ready" plots for self-build or for residents to commission a local builder to build their home.

Also announced in the Queen's Speech was the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, which will see powers transferred to cities with elected "metro mayors". Baseley said that the Bill "presents real opportunities for local authorities and communities to work together more effectively to address the housing needs of the growing population." The best way to achieve this in the short-term, he added, was through a "robust local plan".