Housing White Paper: Farmer Reaction

Housing White Paper: Farmer Reaction

Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast and author of government-commissioned review into the construction industry, said:

“The news today that Sajid Javid’s efforts to reform planning and start Britain building is facing considerable opposition from within the Conservative Party is not really surprising.

“The hard reality is that any strategy to increase home building in the UK will at least in part require more land release through further liberalisation of the planning system.

“This then turns the whole debate back to one of human nature and self-interest. To an extent, I think this will always be a problem in the UK whatever the major political party in power in terms of politicians risking upsetting their mainstream electorate.

“What people say ideologically compared to what they think and do when something impacts them personally is not necessarily the same thing, that is human nature!

“The White Paper needs to be truly ambitious if we are to step change delivery. Those changes cannot just be about where we build and how tall, but also what kind of housing is being delivered.

“To move away from the delivery reliance on the major traditional housebuilders, which is clearly a broken model, there needs to be a broad spectrum of tenure being promoted from social housing through to build to rent and later living.

“We also cannot increase housebuilding without navigating the construction industry’s skills constraints which suggests different technologies being deployed.

“The government has now set such a heavy a weight of expectation on its shoulders with this White Paper that it risks being a major disappointment if the necessary boldness of approach is not pursued or is watered down during a political expediency process.”

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