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Chancellor pledges to deliver 1.5m homes and planning reforms

AuthorsAdam JasonElaine FieldJosh Wing

5 min read

Housing, Real Estate

The Chancellor, Rachel Reeves attends Downing Street

The new Chancellor has pledged to build 1.5 million homes during the next Parliament which, if achieved, would approximately double the number of homes built under the previous Government. 

At a time of high interest rates and construction costs, it is as difficult a time as any for the Government to achieve this much needed objective. 

Here, housing and regeneration development experts Helen Brown, Elaine Field, Adam Jason and Josh Wing examine the new Government’s first actions in relation to the housing crisis and proposed reforms for the sector.


Support pledged for affordable housing development and more

Policy takes time to effect and while we’re yet to hear from Angela Rayner, the Deputy Prime Minister in her second role as Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in its manifesto, Labour pledged: 

However, looking to solve the housing crisis by planning reforms and underwriting banks’ exposure in the mortgage market isn’t a novel approach. The execution of the policy will ultimately determine whether the targets will be achieved. 


Planning reforms to include 300 additional planning officers 

The Government was quick off the block to announce a number of key planning reforms including:


The future of the Affordable Homes Programme

How far the Treasury is willing to go — given the Chancellor’s pledge not to increase VAT or income tax — will be a key variable. Currently, the Affordable Homes Programme provides grant funding to support the development of affordable housing in England. This allocated £11.5bn of capital funding over the five-year period spanning 2021-2026 is due to expire in 2026. It’s administered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (previously the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) under Angela Rayner’s purview as Secretary of State. 

Currently, the programme aims to deliver up to 162,000 new affordable homes across the country by providing funding and grants to eligible participants to build affordable homes for both ownership and rental tenures. These tenures include homes for social rent, affordable rent and affordable housing (including a majority of shared ownership) as well as supported housing, housing for rural areas and housing delivered through ‘Strategic Partnerships’ (usually being partnerships with local authorities). It will be interesting to see if the existing scheme is extended or an alternative is put forward.  


What does this announcement mean for the housing market? 

It's clear that the new Government wants to be seen to deliver. It has already started with some quick wins in the Chancellor’s first speech. As first speeches go, Rachel Reeves provided more detail and clarity than some of her predecessors but as the dust settles following the election, the devil will be in the details when they arrive. Some of the measures — such as the additional 300 planning officers and the review of green belt boundaries — are a good start, but will they be enough?  What other fiscal levers can be pulled will need to be delicately considered to ensure that no drastic unintended consequences will impact the housing market. 


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If you’re interested to hear more about us and the difference we can make for your project, please get in touch with our team.

Josh Wing

Josh is an Associate in our housing and regeneration team.

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    Josh Wing

    Elaine Field

    Elaine is a Legal Director in our property team. She specialises in all areas of planning, highways and compulsory purchase.

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    Elaine Field

    Adam Jason

    Adam is a Legal Director in our construction team.

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    Adam Jason

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