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Housing inquiry launched by new Lords Built Environment Committee

29 June 2021

The newly created House of Lords Built Environment Committee has today launched its first inquiry on the demand for new housing in the UK and how barriers to meeting this demand can be overcome.

Focus of inquiry

The committee will consider the key factors shaping the type, tenure and quality of housing needed in the UK.  It will also look at a range of challenges to meeting that demand including skills shortages in the construction industry and some specific aspects of the planning system.  

This new cross-party committee has been appointed to consider housing, planning, transport and infrastructure. It is chaired by Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG


The committee is seeking answers to the following questions:

1. What is the current composition of the UK’s housing sector? How is the sector structured in terms of private ownership, privately rented accommodation and social housing?

2. What social and demographic factors shape housing demand in the UK? What are the expected future trends in housing demand?

3. Does the Government’s target of 300,000 new homes per year accurately reflect housing demand? Is this target achievable?

4. What is the balance of demand for new housing between homes for private ownership, privately rented homes, and social housing? How does this affect the type and tenure required of new homes?

5. What can be done to ensure there is a good balance of new homes where they are needed across the UK?

6. Is the construction sector able to deliver the UK’s housing demand? What barriers are facing the sector?

7. The Government has published its proposals for reform of the planning system. How can the planning system be shaped to meet housing demand?

  • What role should permitted development rights play in this?
  • How might changes to Section 106 agreements shape the provision of social housing?
  • How should communities be engaged in the planning process?

8. What can be done to improve the quality of new homes? How can the design and aesthetics of new homes be improved?

9. Is the workforce equipped with the professional, digital and other skills required to meet housing demand, for example in the construction, planning and design sectors? What can be done to overcome skills shortages?

10. How does the Government interact with Local Authorities to deliver more homes? How can this relationship be improved?

11. What are the main opportunities and areas of innovation for meeting the UK’s housing demand?

The deadline for submissions is 10 September 2021.

Chair’s comments

Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Chair of the Built Environment Committee, said:

“The number of households in England is projected to rise by 3.7 million over the next 20 years. This increase will be unsustainable and damaging to society unless the corresponding need is met. Meeting this demand will be a question of numbers, but also of balancing where and what kind of buildings people want to live in

“Our inquiry will focus on what shapes the type of housing needed in the UK as well as a range of challenges to meeting that demand. We will then make our recommendations to Government.

“To inform our work we want to hear from as broad a range of people as possible. If you have a view on housing, look at our call for evidence and let us know what you think.”

Further information