IMLA: ‘Big thinking’ Budget needed to fix broken housing market

Jessica Nangle

February 24, 2020

kate davies imla

IMLA is encouraging the government to apply a ‘big thinking’ approach to housing in its upcoming Budget in order to start fixing Britain’s ‘broken’ housing market.

It has set out a list of key priorities on which it wants the government to focus its spending, starting with a more ambitious commitment to housebuilding.

The Conservatives recently pledged to build at least one million homes over the next five years, with support measures included for first-time buyers and private renters.

Just over 240,000 new homes were finished between 2018 and 2019, according to data released in November last year, indicating that the one million target could be surpassed.

Kate Davies (pictured), executive director at IMLA, said: “The new government’s first Budget presents an opportunity to take a real stride forward in its commitment to fixing Britain’s housing market – which the Conservatives themselves described as ‘broken’ in their wide-ranging white paper from 2017.

“It’s clear Boris Johnson is bringing a ‘big thinking’ approach to policy making and major capital projects – from his thumbs-up for HS2 to rumours of a Boris Bridge – and we’re urging the government to bring a similarly bold approach to housing.

“Getting the strategy right means committing to a long-term vision – and with its sizeable majority, the government is well-placed to co-ordinate that vision across all departments.

“We don’t just need more homes – we need the right size and design of well-built, energy-efficient homes, which are properly serviced by a well-planned infrastructure including roads, schools, hospitals and public transport networks.

“The pledge to build 200,000 houses a year is welcome – but the fact that that target has already been met over the past five years indicates that the government could be more ambitious.

“We need thorough analysis of what the UK’s housing needs are going to be over the next 20 to 30 years – and real leadership to deliver that.”

Other areas IMLA is urging the government to prioritise include helping first-time buyers, the future of Help to Buy and a review of Stamp Duty and its impact on property transactions.

This follows IMLA’s ‘General Election Wishlist’ published in November 2019 which outlined the main challenges facing the housing market it wants the new government to address.

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