New investigation to address the UK’s chronic shortage of housing

A call for evidence of diverse, innovative and good building practices has been launched by the National Housing Taskforce, as part of a campaign that hopes to develop clear, workable proposals for both Government and industry that will help address the UK’s chronic shortage of housing.

The National Housing Taskforce has based its enquiry on the premise that diversifying the housebuilding industry will help to increase the overall supply of housing.

It cites the Barker Review, which found that housing supply has been “almost totally unresponsive” to demand since the early 1990s and a later report from the IPPR that revealed the number of housebuilders had halved since then. Latest Government figures show that eight builders now account for half of the market.

The new enquiry is calling for evidence of methods that national and local government, and practitioners could adopt to diversify the market, attract new entrants and support existing, smaller providers. The deadline for written submissions is 21 September.

A statement from the taskforce said: “We are interested in ways to “scale up” existing groups and companies so that they can provide more housing, and ways to “scale out” by enabling more new entrants within those sectors that currently account for a very small part of the market.”

The National Housing Taskforce is a coalition between the All Party Parliamentary Group for Housing & Planning and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Helen Hayes MP, chair of the inquiry, said: “We face huge challenges with families across the country worrying whether their children will be able to attend the same school next year, or whether to get involved in their local community, for the lack of suitable housing.

“They can’t just depend on the big volume house builders, and many might want to build or commission their own homes, individually or in groups.

“If Berliners can build one in six homes this way, then Londoners and Mancunians can too. We want to know how the government and sector could make that happen.”

Tom Chance, policy officer at the National Community Land Trust Network, added: “Everybody accepts that we need a greater diversity of providers in the house building market if we are going to build the number of type of homes we need.

“The government has taken steps in recent years to support self and custom build, community land trusts and other new models. We are seeking evidence and ideas to take through that open door.

“There are a lot of exciting projects on the margins of the house building sector. The question we’re posing is: how can more be encouraged, and how can they expand? We’re looking at the regulatory and legislative barriers they face, the funding programmes that help or hinder them, and the enabling infrastructure that government could create.”

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