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Housing Bill leads Queen’s Speech reforms

27/05/2015
Housing Bill leads Queen’s Speech reforms
The Government’s ground-breaking Housing Bill, seeking to extend home ownership, forms a key part of the new legislative agenda for the first all-Conservative Queen's Speech since 1996.

The Bill confirmed housing as a priority for the government, and aims to make home ownership an attainable aspiration.

A Cities Devolution Bill will also deliver the Conservative manifesto pledge on transferring economic and fiscal powers to England as part of wider plans to rebalance the national economy.

Mike Leonard, chief executive of the Modern Masonry Alliance, said: “The Queens Speech marks the high-point in our six-year campaign to Get Britain Building.
 
“The Housing Bill sets out a range of measures to facilitate the building of new homes and the significant extension of home ownership.

“Provided we build with materials made in the UK and create local skilled jobs this action will prove a major stimulus for jobs and growth, which is vital to our economic and social security.
 
“Devolution will play a key role as we seek to achieve a more balanced economy and build many more homes of all tenures to meet the needs of our growing population.

“Long term vision to drive investment, the increased participation of local builders and custom build as well as a joined up approach to skill building are now of vital importance.  

“These are key elements of the Get Britain Building 2020 plan.”

The Housing Bill contains further measures to deliver an extra 200,000 new homes through the new Starter Homes initiative, which will offer a 20% discount to first-time buyers under 40.

The Bill also sets out details of more controversial measures to offer England’s 1.3 million housing association tenants the chance to buy their homes.

The Government has pledged that receipts from selling an owner’s current property will help housing associations to build replacement affordable homes on a one-for-one basis.

To fund this policy the Housing Bill will also require councils to sell their most valuable housing when it falls vacant – with the receipts used to provide new affordable homes in the same area, and the surplus used to fund the Right to Buy for housing association tenants.

Any remaining cash will be invested in a new Brownfield Regeneration Fund to increase the supply of new housing.

A new register of brownfield land will also help fast-track the construction of new homes on previously-used sites near existing communities.

A ‘Right to Build’ in the Housing Bill will also help increase housing supply and diversify the housing sector by giving people the right to be allocated land with planning permission for them to self-build or commission a local builder to build a home.

Self-build delivers a majority of homes in many other countries and can act as a boost to smaller and medium sized builders.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Behind this Queen’s Speech is a clear vision for what our country can be.

“A country of security and opportunity for everyone, at every stage of life.

“To build a country where whoever you are and wherever you live you can have the chance of a good education, a decent job, a home of your own and the peace of mind that comes from being able to raise a family and enjoy a secure retirement.”