Government announces ‘one nation’ plan to roll out home ownership across the country

“This ‘one nation’ government is squarely on the side of working people who want to get on and enjoy the benefits of home ownership.”

The Prime Minister and Chancellor have, on 4th July 2015, set out plans to accelerate house building and home ownership over the next 5 years in an attempt to reinforce the ‘one nation’ credentials of the new Tory administration. In a press release accompanying the proposals, they make clear that

“this ‘one nation’ government is squarely on the side of working people who want to get on and enjoy the benefits of home ownership.”

The plans, which will form part of the Housing Bill to be introduced this autumn, include steps to build discounted homes for first time buyers on all reasonable sized developments, unlock public land for hundreds of thousands of new homes and back small builders with planning changes.

In a direct message to opponents of reform, the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear that they are determined to ‘reward hard work across society’ and ‘help people into their own homes’. Despite vociferous opposition to the proposed extension to the Right-to-Buy scheme, they were also keen to stress that the Government will press ahead with plans to give housing association tenants the chance to buy their own home, benefitting from a discount of up to 70% when they do so.

Writing in the Times, the PM and Chancellor said:

“Having your own place is an important stake in our economy. It’s also one of the best expressions of the aspirational country we want to build, where hard work is rewarded.

“We don’t want this to be a country where if you’re rich you can buy a home, but if you’re less well off, you can’t. We want it to be one nation, where whoever you are, you can get on in life.

“In the last 5 years, we got builders building, lenders lending, and government-backed schemes alone helped more than 200,000 people on the property ladder. The next 5 will be about going much further. Of course, there will be opponents – but we are determined to take them on.

“It’s simple: you are either pro-reform or not; for building homes, or not; on the side of young people, or not. We know our position. As a one nation government, we will always be squarely on the side of those who want to get on.”

Discounted homes

  • Help to Buy– the programme will be extended until 2020
  • Starter Homes– 58,000 people have signed up to show their interest in owning one of these new homes – exclusively for first time buyers under 40, at a 20% discount. 200,000 will be built over the next 5 years. Every reasonable sized housing site must include starter homes and councils must include starter homes in their future housing plans.
  • Right to Buy– this will be extended to Housing Association tenants. A discount of up to 70% will be available.

Boosting supply

Helping small builders

The Government states:

“Across Europe, almost half of all new builds are commissioned by individuals – in England this is around 10%. We will double the number of custom built and self-built homes by 2020 by placing a new duty on councils to help allocate land to people who want to build their own home. This means from next April, councils must hold a register of custom and self-builders who require land in the area and must make sure they look to provide land to meet their needs. We will also shortly be announcing a government initiative that will invest alongside smaller builders in new developments, providing money to support their businesses, helping get workers onto sites and increase home supply.”

Bringing forward land

The government has pledged to bring forward enough public sector land for 150,000 homes over the next 5 years. This comes on top of the land that has already been released – which has development potential for 100,000 homes.

Unlocking land and reforming planning

With just 10% of England developed, the Government argues that there is enough brownfield land available for 400,000 homes. The government will take forward plans to unlock land and build as many homes as possible on suitable land, while continuing to protect the green belt.

Brownfield funding

The government has committed to ensuring that planning permission is in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020. In addition, £400m of investment is planned, match-funded by the Mayor in London, to create 30 brownfield Housing Zones.

Planning reform

The Government has pledged to give local people a great voice, though have not encapsulated this in any particular policy. They have, however, pledged to take action on councils that have failed to produce a plan for the homes their community needs – ensuring plans are written for those areas.

SRJ                                                                                                                                         05.07.15

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