Rod Cahill, Chief Executive of Catalyst Housing Ltd, gives his view on the Government’s recent Housing White Paper:
“I have read many housing White Papers over the years, which have promised to repair the country’s broken housing market, to learn from the mistakes of previous governments and to make a step change in supply. None have had much long term impact, which is why we find ourselves with today’s ingrained problems of shortage and affordability.
“So I read yet another one, published on Tuesday, with some scepticism. Big problems usually require big solutions and you won’t find any in this publication. However, the White Paper does set out a range of modest changes, which, if implemented, should make a long term difference, albeit not a big one, to the number of homes built and the time taken to build them. Success will depend upon whether the Government delivers on its promises to force reluctant local authorities to produce local plans with higher housing targets, to streamline the planning process, and to force developers to build out sites quicker.
“However, the most welcome feature of the White Paper is the focus on rent as well as ownership and this marks a big change from the Cameron government. Furthermore, it seeks to support a broad range of solutions – outright and shared ownership, market rent, discounted market rent and low cost rent. It therefore reflects our own desire to meet a range of need at a range of prices in a range of tenures.
“So, if not three, then certainly two cheers for this White Paper, which ends a destructive 6 year obsession with home ownership and recognises that for many people home ownership may be the dream but renting is the reality and they want better quality and more security.”