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Economic Affairs Committee criticises Government Response to its Housing Report

13 December 2016

The Economic Affairs Committee has criticised the Government's response to its report, Building more homes, which it published in July. Lord Hollick, Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, dubbed the response "inadequate to deal with the scale of the crisis in the housing market." 

Publication of the report

The Committee's report criticised the Government's target of one million new homes by 2020 as inadequate and said that the level of house building required to meet the housing crisis could not be met by the private sector alone.

The Committee called on the Government to free local authorities to build more homes for rent and to move away from its single minded focus on subsidising home ownership and do more to support people to rent affordably.

Government's response

The Government's response to the Committee's report accepts much of the Committee's analysis of the reasons for the crisis in the housing market but does not make any solid commitments to changing policy preferring to say that it will produce a 'comprehensive package of reform' to increase housing supply in a White Paper to be published 'in due course'.

Chairman's comments

Commenting on the Government's response Lord Hollick, Chairman of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said:

"This is a welcome albeit timid response to the Committee's recommendations. The measures proposed are inadequate in the context of the crisis in the housing market. I hope that the promised White Paper will set out the far reaching measures needed to address the problems in the housing market and to meet the Prime Minister's ambitions.

"The Government have accepted the Committee's analysis of the problem, but shied away from the steps needed to address it. In particular, the Government continue to rely on the private sector to build more houses when, as the Committee heard, these builders are incentivised to maximise profit margins not increase the number of houses they build. The Government have failed to recognise the need for local authorities to build more homes and for them to be freed from unnecessary and arbitrary financial restrictions which severely curtail their ability to build.

"We are also disappointed that the Government has ignored our suggestion to give a single Cabinet Minister responsibility for ensuring suitable unused public land is made available for developing homes. Without a champion for that work at the highest level in government there is a danger that an opportunity to bring those spaces into productive use will be lost."

Further information

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