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Queen’s Speech provides house building boost

From Property Talk Live on June 5, 2014

Continued support for the Help to Buy and Right to Buy schemes and a pledge to boost house building took centre stage of the Queen’s Speech.

Measures announced in the last Queen’s Speech of this Parliament included plans to boost housing supply through further support for locally-led Garden Cities and small house building firms.
The Queen said: “My Government will increase housing supply and homeownership by reforming the planning system, enabling new locally-led garden cities and supporting small housebuilding firms.”

Legislation will also be bought forward to sell high value Government land to encourage development and increase housing numbers.

However, Mark Henderson, chief executive of Home Group, said this legislation has to ensure that it is “right land, in the right place and for the right use”.

Mr Henderson said: “The Government needs to have a clear and strategic approach to ensuring public land sales deliver genuine value.

“There is a huge amount of public land that is too remote, has poor infrastructure and too difficult to develop. We need to see the right land released and parcelled with private land together to create zones for enterprise and housing. Bringing jobs and homes together will have the maximum benefit for the UK economy and individuals alike.

“Public land sales are not a panacea. We need the right land, in the right place and for the right use.”

Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, welcomed the pledge to increase housing supply but called on the Government to guarantee that a proportion of this will be affordable housing.

He added: “Whilst building new homes makes long-term financial sense, it is important that vulnerable individuals in immediate need of accommodation are given the help they need.

“Our review of the homelessness sector indicates that nearly a third of homeless people are ready to move into a home of their own but are unable to due to the chronic shortage of affordable housing. We urge the Government to work with builders and landlords to improve access to the housing market for homeless people and ensure an adequate supply of homes that are genuinely affordable.”

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said measures to allow zero carbon exemptions for small developers, and new legislation to tackle late payment, will make a meaningful difference to the fortunes of small construction firms and house builders.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The legislative programme for the final year of this Parliament shows that the Coalition is far from a so-called ‘zombie Government’. The small developers’ exemption from zero carbon homes regulations will help SME house builders plug the gap in the supply of new homes.

“The Government clearly recognises that the cost implications for smaller developments are much higher than previously estimated and now accepts that it is not sensible to impose the same regulatory burden on SME house builders when at the same time urging them to build more new homes.”

Mr Berry added: “I’m also pleased that the Coalition will continue in its ambition to remove the barriers to SMEs that are trying and failing to win public sector contracts. The Small Business, Enterprise an Employment Bill will help improve the current situation where 40 per cent of construction SMEs are failing to win 90 per cent of the contracts they bid for.

“A vital part of engaging construction SMEs in the public procurement process will be the strengthening of the existing Prompt Payment Code and forcing larger businesses to publish their payment terms to increase transparency on the treatment of SMEs.”

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Source: Property Talk Live