Lunchtime news 23 July 2023

Today’s housing Green Paper is expected to be the most interventionist attempt for two generations to tackle the UK’s housing crisis. It is expected that the government will announce that it wants to build at least 70,000 more affordable homes a year and at least 45,000 social homes by 2017 – a 50 per cent increase in three years, and a 130 per cent increase since 2004.

The highlights of the paper are expected to include:

The government plans to spend £6.5bn on social housing and at least £8bn in affordable homes over the next three years.

A target of 25,000 shared equity and shared ownership homes to be funded by the Housing Corporation.

In expanding the existing Open Market HomeBuy scheme, the government is set to launch a 17.5 per cent equity loan product.

Building up to 100,000 homes in at least five ‘eco-towns’.

A ‘housing and planning delivery grant’ to direct extra resources to councils who build the most houses, while penalising those who have not identified at least five years’ worth of sites ready for development. And if local councils fail to bid for cash to build the new homes, ministers will use compulsory purchase orders under the New Towns Act 1981 to force the developments to go ahead.

Somewhat controversially, especially with today’s reports of looting and panic buying throughout the areas affected by the current wet weather, the paper is also expected to encourage the government to give the go-ahead for thousands of new homes to be built in areas at risk of flooding. Already 10 per cent of England’s housing and population is already living in ‘at risk’ areas, and the past few weeks has shown just how susceptible some areas of the country are to flooding.