Reforms for housing and local government welcomed
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) welcomes the legislative programme announced in today’s Queen’s Speech. There are important reforms for housing, planning, local government, the environment and welfare which will have significant implications for housing markets and housing supply.
Richard Capie, CIH Director of Policy and Practice, welcomed the Decentralisation and Localism bill. He said: “A localism agenda that devolves greater responsibility to local authorities and local communities has the potential to create stronger local accountability around housing markets and housing supply. Such is the scale of the challenge faced in building enough new homes and providing excellent housing services, that a more active local approach could pay real dividends in shifting responsibility for housing back to the housing market areas themselves. We need local communities to take the lead in ensuring enough new homes are built for current and future generations but we also need to be clear about securing homes in the cases where this falls short. With almost two million families on our social housing waiting lists, we can’t afford not to succeed.“
He continued: “CIH has long advocated a stronger role for local communities and their councils as being best placed to understand and shape housing markets. We are enthusiastic about the potential that a localism agenda, hand in hand with local incentives and funding, could have in tackling the housing crisis we face today.
“We do however recognise that moving from our current central and regional model will need to be managed carefully in order to minimise risk to delivery at this delicate time. We also believe that for local authorities to be able to fully deliver on new expectations and responsibilities – from government, communities and delivery partners such as developers and housing associations – they will need to be given the powers and support to be able to succeed. This means an appropriate regulatory environment, help to work across what can be complex housing markets, and greater flexibility to respond to what can be very different local circumstances.”
The Queens Speech also saw important legislation announced on welfare reform and the environmental agenda.
Mr Capie concluded: “The housing sector is well placed to support government in taking forward its welfare reform agenda and has considerable experience of the barriers that welfare can sometimes provide in supporting people back in to employment. Similarly, with over 27 per cent of our carbon emissions coming from our existing housing stock, housing providers will be keen to access funding and support for retrofitting measures – both in the private and social housing sectors"
1. CIH Housing Futures site www.housingfutures.cih.co.uk/ provides useful commentary and analysis on all the latest policy developments relevant to the housing sector.