Updated Dec 2014
Britain needs many more homes to meet current and future demand
Without substantial new building, homes will get even more expensive and our economy will be held back.
The amount government pays in housing benefit is large and growing, as the stock of social housing declines and the cost of renting increases. At the same time, the amount invested in the construction of new housing is falling. This leaves more and more people reliant on less secure, more expensive private rented accommodation.
we need to turn 'benefits into bricks', to shift public spending over time away from subsiding rents and into building homes
Endorsed by Labour, June 2013
Endorsed by London mayor Boris Johnson, May 2013
The housing market varies greatly from one place to another.
local authorities should have the power and money to meet local needs, including stimulating local development
establishing an Affordable Housing Fund, through which local authorities would make decisions on both housing benefit payments and housebuilding investments to suit local conditions
By shaping the housing market around local demand, the Affordable Housing Fund can create a virtuous cycle of additional housebuilding and reduced benefit spending, incentivising investment and encouraging citizens and local authorities to find solutions to local concerns.
To enable large-scale housebuilding
we should plan for new towns, especially in the south east of England, where housing demand is high
Endorsed by Coalition government, Jan 2014
Developers and landowners should be encouraged to bring forward land for development and to ensure that building starts quickly once planning permission has been granted.
Adopted by Labour, Sep 2013
local authorities should think creatively about how they use their land to drive higher-quality, more efficient construction that serves the public interest
For example, they might make greater use of compulsory purchase power or penalise developers who sit on 'land banks'.
It is also vital that we shape neighbourhoods that are good places for people to live and put down roots. This means improving the quality of housing stock and the physical environment, increasing the stability of rental tenancies, and giving local people more power over how their neighbourhood is governed.
local authorities should be empowered to improve the quality of places, with a particular focus on the responsibilities of landlords in the private rental sector
We spend £9.3 billion in housing benefits paid directly to private landlords who do little to improve the poorest-quality housing. This is a not the best use of public money. Councils should look to make 'deals' with private landlords and form Community Housing Agencies to drive quality improvements and control overall housing costs
Improving security of tenancy should include a 'family tenancy' option, with a longer tenure and notice periods, aimed at helping families to maintain stability in work and schooling.
Access to affordable housing, both to rent and to own, is a particular issue for young people.
specific measures are required to support young people into housing, such as an opportunity to build up equity by overpaying rent
The housing market is especially vulnerable to bubbles – there have been four in the UK in the past 40 years.
Over the past decade, a large expansion in available mortgage finance created a very large increase in credit in the UK housing market and, as a consequence, a huge leap in demand. The end result was to exacerbate cyclicality and volatility in house prices, and to heighten the risk of economic 'boom and bust' driven by the housing market.
the Bank of England should have powers to intervene in the mortgage market to limit the value of loans to housebuyers
Endorsed by the Bank of England, Oct 2014