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The White Paper

Feb 07 2017

After months of speculation and lobbying the white paper hit the newsstands today.

As the Secretary of State stood in the house to make his statement I sat in the gallery eager to hear if the substance matched the tone.

It would be easy to forget how much has changed in just a few months, but here was the Secretary of State talking about a broken housing market, and a need to invest in homes for rent as well as homes for sale.

A commitment to planning reform. A commitment to liberate land. And a commitment to provide help now.

Allocating land starts with local plans. The Government wants every Local Planning Authority to have a local plan in place. It wants to introduce a standardised approach to calculating need. Maybe the aggregation of these changes will mean less ambiguity, fewer delays and more homes built. Let’s hope so.

Buried in the detail was a commitment to review the housing association rent settlement. Boring and technical for some but to us a vital ingredient for investor confidence.

It’s clear this White Paper is the opening statement, not the final piece in the jigsaw. The White Paper sets out in a number of areas where further consultation will take place. It’s great we are having that debate.

But was it enough?

Not according to shadow housing minister John Healey who was fierce in his response.

But whether you think it was enough or not, here was a Government and its opposition fighting to own the housing crisis. How things have changed.

What matters now is how we respond through the consultation process. Our response will be bold, and will encourage government and its agencies to be just as bold in their thinking and actions.

In the meantime L&Q is open for business and determined to solve the housing crisis. We call on every organisation across every sector to join us in our mission to ensure that everyone has a quality affordable home.

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