Queen’s speech: BMF reaction

23 Decemberr 2019

Prime Minister Boris JohnsonReacting to the Queen’s Speech to Parliament that set out the UK Government’s legislative programme, John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “The Queen’s Speech reflects the Government’s desire to conclude complex, serious and far-reaching Brexit negotiations and urgently get onto domestic policy to grow the economy, encourage business investment, improve living standards and increase productivity”.

“We look forward to the consultation on the “First Homes” re-announcement aimed at boosting home ownership by making new homes available to local first-time buyers and key workers at a 30% price discount. This resembles the earlier proposals first revealed by the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP, to “The Times” back in August 2018”.

Mr Newcomb pointed out that during the General Election, housing hardly featured as politicians talked predominately about Brexit, the NHS, education and policing. As ministers start dealing with their in-tray, Mr Newcomb wants them to focus on two major issues affecting BMF members: narrowing the gap between housing demand and supply, and the decarbonisation of heating and electrification of homes.

The Conservatives have a target to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. If this is to be achieved, Mr Newcomb said there must be unrelenting political determination behind concerted action to simplify and speed up planning approvals for un-controversial applications to increase housing completions. The whole thrust must be implementation, he added, to enable BMF members to invest confidently in the people and materials and products needed.

John Newcomb continued: “But there is a contradiction in what’s being promised here. Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are promising to build a million homes over the next 5 years - equating to 200,000 homes per year. But this is fewer than Theresa May’s target of 300,000 homes. As the latest net additional figures show, this latest pledge is 40,000 fewer than were actually completed in 2018-2019 in England”.

Most of the action needed to build more homes does not require new legislation. The BMF urges the Government to press on and implement its declared policy priorities and spend the funding already allocated since the Housing White Paper of February 2017 as quickly as possible.

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