Politicians urged to focus on housing crisis ahead of general election

Politicians urged to focus on housing crisis ahead of general election

Ahead of the general election on July 4th, the construction industry are urging policymakers and politicians to focus on the housing crisis.

In a statement outside Downing Street, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the country will go to the polls on 4 July after he met with the King to request the dissolution of parliament.

Following his announcement, representatives from across the housing and construction industry have welcomed the election and are calling on policymakers to focus on the housing crisis.

Stephen Teagle, Chair of The Housing Forum Board said:With growing numbers of people homeless and priced out of a home of their own it is not surprising that housing has risen up the political agenda in recent years, and we are encouraged to hear the ambitions of all main parties to increase housebuilding and ensure more affordable homes are built. 

“We urge all the political parties to put together ambitious policy proposals to unblock the planning system and to build capacity amongst housing providers and the wider sector.

“We are calling for a Housing Accelerator Fund – this year – to tackle the affordable housing backlog. This would be a £4bn fund to provide 60,000 new affordable rented homes to reduce homelessness by more than half over three years and slash expenditure on temporary accommodation.”

The Housing Forum has set out proposals it would like to see in more detail in a manifesto for housing. It calls for delivery and action to:

  1. Increase housing supply – A quality home for all our citizens is critical. Housing is essential infrastructure and contributes directly to growth. An increase in the supply of new, well-designed homes can be delivered within the next parliament, growing the economy and helping to address climate change.
  2. Improve quality, safety and sustainability – We need to move our existing housing stock to zero carbon energy use and drive up standards in new homes by supporting supply chains with new technologies.
  3. Ensure affordable housing and choice for all – Funding is needed for the affordable housing sector to deliver homes for those in need, and to enable housebuilding to continue during a period of housing market downturn. A range of housing products is needed to ensure choice for all generations.

The Structural Timber Association (STA) has welcomed the announcement of the upcoming general election, calling it a critical moment for the future of the UK’s housing policy.

Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive Officer of the STA, commented: “This is a pivotal opportunity to place sustainable housing at the top of the political agenda and we urge all political parties to seize this chance to revolutionise the way we build our homes. Housing is a crucial issue for voters across the country, but it’s essential that we underline the importance of sustainability and to continue the momentum that has been garnered by the Timber in Construction Policy Roadmap, published in December last year.

“Setting out a clear path towards the increased use of timber in construction, the Roadmap has laid the foundation for transforming our housing landscape through the integration of timber frame housing. This method of construction offers a speedy, sustainable and clean approach to meeting the current and future demands of housing – as well as utilising offsite assembly, which effectively addresses the skill shortages that are endemic within our sector.

“Increasing the use of timber in construction presents a promising solution for the incoming Government to address the pressing housing crisis and tackle net zero obligations, and it’s vital that the progress we have already made is not lost.”

Lanpro has called for changes to the planning system in order to increase productivity.

Commenting on the general election announcement, Antony Duthie, Regional Director of Lanpro said: “As manifestos are published in the coming days, it is vital that all parties recognise the importance of the planning system as a key economic facilitator and economic driver which can significantly increase the country’s productivity in addition to resolving the housing crisis.

“The next Government needs to take bold steps to resolve the many challenges that currently stand in the way of delivering much needed housing and infrastructure. People will be looking beyond the rhetoric of political campaigning and instead for evidence that manifestos can bring about real change.”

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