30 June 2017

Queen’s Speech 2017 – Housing

The recent Queen’s Speech dated 21 June 2017 has reaffirmed the Government’s promise to deliver the reforms to housing proposed in the Government’s Housing White Paper dated 7 February 2017. The Housing White Paper proposed measures to:

  • release more land for homes where people want to live;
  • build the homes we need faster;
  • get more people building homes;
  • support people who need help now.

The Queen’s Speech sets out the Government’s intention to deliver the reforms proposed in the White Paper in order to increase transparency around the control of land, to free up more land for new homes in the right places, speed up build-out by encouraging modern methods of construction and diversify who build homes in the country.

The first paragraph of the introduction to the Housing White Paper stated that “the housing market in this country is broken” and the cause is “for too long the country hasn’t built enough homes”. The Queen’s Speech reaffirms this prominent concern by acknowledging that not enough homes have been built in the country for generations, referencing the housing market as ‘dysfunctional’. The Speech also acknowledges that the Government needs to ensure that more of the right homes are built in the right places, and that the housing market works for all parts of the community.

Despite the Government’s recognition that the housing market needs to be fixed, it is notable that the proposals are set out in the ‘non-legislative’ part of the briefing note and comprise only a limited number of paragraphs. Furthermore, no bills were announced in the Speech that would introduce legislation aimed to increase the supply of housing. The extent of the relevant planning elements within the Housing White Paper that can be delivered without primary legislation is questionable. The absence of any proposed bills confirms that the Government’s immediate proposals to ensure more homes are built will be confined to non-legislative actions.

Although the Government has reaffirmed its support for proposals to increase the number of houses being built, it is doubtful as to whether there will be any immediate increase in the number of homes constructed in the absence of any imminent primary legislation. In the near future it is likely that the health of the economy will have a greater influence on the housing market than any legislative or policy changes.