8 JAN 2019
The Commission’s report for Shelter has already been welcomed throughout the housing and construction sector. It is a definitive analysis of how we have arrived at today’s housing crisis and RICS believe its recommendations must be picked up and driven forward by government, today and in the future. Our housing stock should be seen on a par with the NHS as a national asset which needs investment and nurturing from the public sector.
In focusing on the need for social housing, the report recognises that this is just one part of the fact that ‘Our broken housing market has become a major barrier to social mobility.’ But it is the government that needs to take the lead; it is not the responsibility of land owners, developers and housebuilders to resolve this crisis.
RICS has long called for more government resources to improve the housing sector, including more awareness and oversight at ministerial level, a national organisation to keep plans on track, and an independent ombudsman service to ensure fairness. The report also highlights a number of issues, including land value uplift from the consent of planning permission, which need to be tackled urgently by policy makers.
If we are to achieve the Commission’s aims for social housing it will take a massive effort from both the public and private sectors and major investment. Social housing cannot be looked at in isolation, it needs to be well planned, work within a wider community and be serviced by good infrastructure and have access to jobs. These are areas in which chartered surveyors play leading roles and as their professional body, RICS welcomes the opportunity to work with Shelter drive the Commission’s recommendations forward.
Planning 2020, The Review of Planning System in England led by former Labour Housing Minister Nick Raynsford, was published last week. Among the conclusions expected from the review was a simple question - is the current system fit for purpose?
There were a number of announcements in the Budget affecting the UK’s residential sector. The policies set out by government don’t, in and of themselves, represent a substantial enough effort to address the systemic issues in the housing sector.