Lyons Housing Review Report published today16 October 2014
The Lyons Housing Review: Mobilising across the nation to build the homes our children need
The Labour Party have today published the report of the independent review of housing led by Sir Michael Lyons.
The full report can be downloaded here:
We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation, because for decades we have failed to build the homes we need. The consequences of this are widely felt with house prices now 8 times average incomes, rental affordability stretched, increased overcrowding and the impact of house price inflation on national economic management. We simply have to do better, not only because our children and grandchildren need the homes we should be providing now, but because greater house building will make a direct contribution to national economic growth. Housing must become a priority for the nation once again.
The Lyons report sets out a comprehensive plan to tackle the deep and underlying causes of the housing crisis. The key barriers identified in the report are that we don’t release enough land for new homes; that communities don’t have sufficient tools to provide the homes they need; that new homes need to come with the roads, schools and services to make for successful communities; and that we need to get a bigger and wider range of organisations commissioning and building homes. In addition, housing must be a priority for investment for the next government.
The review argues that tackling these problems will require strong leadership from central government alongside the delegation of powers, funding and responsibility so that every community provides the homes they need. The report recommends measures to tighten the responsibility on councils to increase the supply of land through local plans and give them greater tools to ensure that new homes are built. It proposes changes to simplify and speed up the planning process, including “redline” applications for small sites. It recommends a more active role for local government in the assembly and preparation of land and in risk sharing partnerships with developers, landowners to deliver more new homes through Housing Growth Areas and New Homes Corporations as local delivery agencies. There should be a new focus for the Homes and Communities Agency on delivery and attracting investment. The review also argues for a more ambitious approach to Garden Cities and beyond that to new Garden Suburbs and re-shaping our towns and cities to deliver up to 500,000 new homes.
Building the homes we need will require all those involved in house building to play a bigger role. So the review makes recommendations to reverse the shrinking capacity in the house building industry by getting smaller house builders back into the business of building homes, tapping capacity in the wider construction industry and attracting new enterprise. This could create 230,000 new jobs whilst adding 1.2% to GDP. It proposes ways to ensure that councils play a bigger role as house builders after forty years of decline and to unlock the capacity and ambition of Housing Associations to play a bigger role in investment and delivery of new homes.
To provide the right homes for the future we will need a range of homes to suit people’s ability to pay and the different chapters of their lives. The recommendations in the report will help more people secure their own home through more attractive shared ownership schemes as well as more quality homes to rent. The report argues that housing for older people and those looking to downsize should be a priority, as should investment in more social and affordable homes so that those on the lowest incomes and the most vulnerable have a secure and decent home.
The clear conclusion of the review is that building the homes we need will require a coordinated package of reforms that together will change the way we plan for and deliver new homes and that is the ambition of this report.