Yesterday, the Government finally unveiled its highly anticipated Housing White Paper, which aims to fix the country’s housing dilemma. Here are some of the main points covered in the paper.
What used to be “ownership no matter what” during the Cameron era has slowly turned into a greater focus on building rental accommodation that people actually want to live in. And doing so faster.
Communities secretary, Sajid Javid, unveiled the White Paper yesterday, which focuses on a range of subjects related to the UK’s housing market, the gap between supply and demand as well as increasing house prices, which keep millennials off the property ladder.
The Private Rented Sector
One of the major changes made in the Housing White Paper is that the Government has now set out to support longer tenancies for renters. Although the paper doesn’t state an exact number of years, it hopes to ensure tenancies for a longer period of time become widely available.
For many, this is a more than necessary change as the proportion of people living in rental accommodation has doubled over the last 16 years.
Last weekend, communities secretary, Javid, commented:
“We are determined to make housing more affordable and secure for ordinary working families and have a rental market that offers much more choice. We understand people are living longer in private rented accommodation which is why we are fixing this broken housing market so all types of home are more affordable.”
The Green Belt Battle
To build or not to build on the green belt. This has been a discussion that has been going on in the UK for quite some while now. With many – mainly Conservative – MPs stating that building on the green belt was necessary to free up the space the country needs to hit their building target.
The White Paper, now confirms the opposite stand. There will be no change to the regulations surrounding the green belt. As Gavin Barwell himself put it: “The green belt is 13% of the land. We can solve this crisis without having to take huge tracts out of the green belt.”
Of course, as with most things, there are exceptions to the rule. In “exceptional circumstances” land can be taken out of the green belt, however only if every other possibility has been exhausted.
Own A Home… still
Of course the announcement didn’t go by without the Government committing to homeownership of some sort.
With the latest paper, the Government is introducing a Lifetime ISA (Individual Savings Account) in the hopes that this will give young tenants more flexibility when saving to put down a deposit.
Overall, the Government hopes to secure a further 200,000 homeowners by the end of parliament.
Similar to the Autumn Statement, the Government just reaffirmed its commitment to build more affordable housing.
Additionally, the White paper backed the £1.4bn of funding announced last year, as well as the opening up of the Affordable Homes Programme to include Affordable Rent.