Whoever takes the reins of Government after the next election, housing will be central to the challenges they face. The number of new homes being built remains a long way short of the number we need to match the increase in new households. At the same time, our existing housing stock will need to last longer and be more energy efficient if the next Government is to meet its carbon reduction targets and reduce household fuel bills.
To tackle these challenges the new Government will need to hit the ground running.
To boost the supply of new homes it can take immediate action by:
- Putting in place measures to ensure improved access to finance for all SME house builders. Until access to finance for smaller firms dramatically improves, the capacity of the industry to increase the supply of new homes will be strictly limited.
- Lifting the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap to allow local authorities to invest in building new homes.
- Committing to continue the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme. This would ensure affordability for first time buyers and provide much-needed certainty to the house building sector
To ensure necessary investment in our existing housing stock it can take immediate action by:
- Reducing VAT on housing renovation and repair from 20% to 5%. This one simple measure would provide the most effective incentive for home owners to invest in their homes and make them more energy efficient. Over the lifetime of the next parliament it would reduce our carbon emissions by 240,000 tones of CO2 and boost economic growth by over £15 billion.
- Redirecting funds from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and Carbon Floor Price to fund the mass upgrade of the UK’s housing stock. This would provide the necessary funding to upgrade the energy efficiency of our social housing stock and make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions in line with our legally binding carbon reduction targets.