The National Federation of Builders has called on the government to be more engaged with the industry when consulting over the Housing White Paper.
NFB and the House Builders Association (HBA) believe that the government’s housing policies have contributed to inflating demand for housing without boosting supply.
They said that the Housing & Planning Act 2016 focuses excessively on purchasing – rather than encouraging different types of ownership and supply – and has restricted the ability of local authorities to build new homes.
The organisations pointed to the latest updated housebuilding statistics from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG). The figures show that 167,700 new homes were completed between Q3 2015 and Q2 2016, below the government’s self-imposed annual target of 200,000 necessary to achieve its ambition of building one million homes by 2020. Given that the Government uses net additions to the housing supply, it could still reach its aspiration of one million homes by 2020, said NFB. “With the average UK house price rising from £168,703 in December 2010 to £219,544 in December 2016, the government faces an uphill battle to fulfil its aspiration to deliver one million new homes by 2020,” it added.
“The government does not seem intent on building on the Housing and Planning Act, as much as rewriting key areas,” said the NFB. “The Neighbourhood Planning Bill proposes to amend significant parts of the Housing and Planning Act, while the Housing White Paper looks set on diluting some of its key features. The NFB thinks the government ought to seize this opportunity to work with industry on practical solutions, rather than rolling out initiatives and see what sticks.”
NFB said that it had offered the DCLG an opportunity to discuss the figures, but the DCLG declined to comment.
“Given the disappointing house building figures, we need to ask ourselves if the publication of the Housing White Paper – coming ten months after the Act – can be seen as an admission that the government has failed to stimulate house building,” it said.