Housebuilders forced to speed up delivery in white paper

Bricklaying-THUMB.jpegHousebuilders will be forced to start construction in two years instead of three as part of government plans to fix the housing crisis.

A housing white paper published today will also see ministers scrap rules allowing councils to assess their own housing need an introduce a new national formula.

“We’ll be equipping councils with a lot more tools to get those developers building and we’ll be applying a test on local authorities, a new test, a delivery test, to make sure that they are also honouring the plans that they’ve put in place,” communities secretary Sajid Javid told BBC Radio 4 this morning.

Some councils have “fudged the numbers” and not delivered the houses they need, Javid said, adding that local authorities must carry out an “honest assessment” of housing need.

“We will also require greater transparency and information from developers on their pace of delivery of new housing so councils can consider this when planning their local need,” the Department for Communities and Local Government said in a statement.

High density development will be expected where land availability is in low supply, the white paper will say.

New planning rules will allow councils to “proactively plan” for more long-term Build to Rent homes and a consultation will be launched to allow developers to offer more affordable rent alongside other forms of affordable housing.

Measures to promote longer-term tenancies in private rented schemes to provide more stability to families renting will also be outlined in the document.

Starter homes policy will change to target “households that need them most” with combined incomes of less than £80,000 or £90,000 in London, according to the BBC. Under David Cameron the policy did not have any salary restrictions, but was reserved for first-time buyers under the age of 40.

The housing white paper also notes previously announced policies including a £3bn fund to help smaller building firms and off-site construction, as well as a “lifetime ISA” to help first-time buyers save for a deposit.

The full document is due to be launched by communities secretary Sajid Javid at 12.30pm. No measures to change green belt policy will be announced.

Click here for more news, views and analysis covering the 2017 housing white paper.

• To send feedback, e-mail or tweet @LouisaClarence or @estatesgazette