Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Long-Term Way Forward for the Country's Housing Needs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Long-Term Way Forward for the Country's Housing Needs

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevan Carrick

the Lyons Housing Review, a Commission set up by Labour leader Ed Miliband, last week announced a well thought through, long-term plan for housing which should be considered by all political parties.

It makes a number of recommendations that if implemented by a future govern ment will make a real difference to meeting housing need across the UK.

The RICS has particularly welcomed proposals for Housing Growth Areas, mandatory Local Plans and Olympic-style New Homes Corporations. They mirror recommendations made in the RICS Property in Politics report, the subject of this column on September 24, which was based on the views of more than 700 RICS members and firms across the country.

The Lyons Review refers to two reasons why we are not building enough housing. The first is a shortage of land, the second, is a shrunken capacity to build. I would add a third - shortage of funding.

It is widely acknowledged that the public purse cannot fund the supply of social and affordable housing. Equally, we cannot just leave the problem to market forces. The private investment sector needs to be attracted back into the market.

I have made the point previously that we must not allow housing to become 'a pawn of politicians' as it was in the last few decades. While there clearly are unscrupu lous landlords and protection is needed from those who through greed and avarice tarnish the reputation of the much larger group of professionals in the private rented sector, I feel the measures proposed by Ed Miliband are too blunt. We need a more careful and structured approach to be effective in protecting the disadvantaged and still encourage the private sector to invest to the degree that is necessary.

Returning to the recommendations in the Lyons report, the Labour Party is right to talk of empowering local communities to build much-needed homes in the places people want to live. This can become a reality through resourcing Local Authority planning departments to support neigh bourhood planning, also called for by RICS in Property in Politics. …

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