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Government White Paper Key Messages

The UK Government has revealed plans to increase housebuilding activity across the country, including granting local authorities the ability to ensure that developers use planning consent more quickly.

In its long-awaited housing white paper, the Government will simplify the process for councils to provide completion notices and reduce the time within which developers are required to commence building once planning permission is received.

The Government plans, which also require developers to deliver more information on the completion speed for intended developments, have been unveiled as part of the housing white paper. Other plans include making financial support available to SME housebuilders, hurrying up the housebuilding process via planning changes and building more build-to-rent houses.

The Government housing white paper covered the following:

  • Faster building: The Government wants to implement a new and standardised method of calculating housing demand for local authorities. The authorities will use it to create a feasible and realistic housing plan every five years. Government figures suggest the 40% of them currently lack an up-to-date plan.
  • Aiming higher: Developers and councils will be required to make more efficient use of available land by moving away from low-density housebuilding. There will be an emphasis on building higher in cities and towns where land is at a premium and close to train stations and other transport hubs.
  • Market diversification: The Government will use its £3bn Home Building Fund to attempt to increase the number of homes built by SMEs. The fund will supply loans to custom builders, SME builders, and offsite construction companies to reach its goal of 25,000 more homes being built at the end of this parliament.

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  • Affordable rent: The Affordable Homes Programme has been opened up to the rental sector. This five-year scheme was originally intended to provide over £7bn to build approximately 225,000 affordable residences. It will now be made available to other areas, such as affordable rental developments.
  • Build-to-rent: The Government will change existing planning rules so that local councils can plan and deliver more build-to-rent properties over the long term. It will work with developers and local authorities to make longer-term tenancies available to renters.
  • Empty properties: Local authorities will be granted both the ability and incentives to deal with empty homes via the New Homes Bonus. They will receive the same financial reward for restoring an empty home as they will for constructing a new one.

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