New Chancellor Rachel Reeves Announces Mandatory Housing Targets ‘To Get Britain Building Again’

In a decisive move to address the UK’s housing crisis, Rachel Reeves, the UK’s first female Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced a series of ambitious measures aimed at revitalising the housing sector.

In her inaugural speech as Chancellor following Labour’s recent election victory, Reeves outlined her government’s commitment to building 1.5 million homes over the next five years, as promised in Labour’s election manifesto.

“We’re not in the business of reneging on our manifesto commitments,” Reeves declared. “We’ve received that strong mandate. We’re going to deliver on that mandate.”

Reeves detailed a comprehensive plan that includes the restoration of mandatory housebuilding targets, the construction of affordable and council homes, and the lifting of the onshore wind farm ban. Additionally, she introduced a new task force to accelerate stalled housing sites and support local authorities with 300 additional planning officers. The government also plans to review previously rejected planning applications that could benefit the economy and prioritize brownfield and greybelt land for development to meet housing targets.

Key points from Reeves’ announcement include:
Mandatory housebuilding targets: Reinstituting targets to ensure steady progress in housing construction.
Building 1.5 million homes: Aiming to complete this ambitious goal by the end of the current parliament.
Ending the onshore wind farm ban: Promoting sustainable energy as part of the housing strategy.
New task force: Accelerating development on stalled housing sites.
Support for local authorities: Adding 300 planning officers across the country.
Reviewing planning applications: Reassessing previously turned-down applications to bolster economic growth.
Prioritising development land: Focusing on brownfield and greybelt areas to meet housing needs.
Reforming the planning system: Streamlining processes to facilitate infrastructure development.
Policy intentions for critical infrastructure: Setting out future plans to support the housing and infrastructure sectors.

Industry Reactions

The announcement has been met with positive reactions from industry leaders who view it as a bold step toward economic growth and stability.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, praised the government’s clear and proactive approach. “Industry will welcome such a bold statement of intent which is a clear indication of a Government that has well and truly hit the ground running, especially in ensuring that key institutions are focused on promoting economic growth with their shoulders to the wheel,” he said. Phipson emphasized the need for a robust Industrial Strategy and tackling the skills crisis, particularly through a review of the Apprentice Levy and Technical Education system. He also highlighted the potential of modular homes built in British factories to meet housing targets.

Daniel Paterson, Director of Policy at Make UK Modular, echoed these sentiments, expressing eagerness to collaborate with the government on the ambitious building agenda. “The Labour Party laid out a bold plan during the run-up to and throughout the election campaign and we welcome the Chancellor’s statement today in regard to growth; making homes and infrastructure building central to this,” Paterson stated. He noted that the reinstatement of housing targets, new funding for planning officers, and overhauling the planning system were overdue but welcomed steps. Paterson also appreciated the planned consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework and the push for universal coverage for local plans as crucial to getting Britain building again.

Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ announcement marks a significant commitment to addressing the UK’s housing needs and stimulating economic growth. By setting ambitious housing targets, reforming planning systems, and fostering collaboration between government and industry, Reeves aims to deliver on Labour’s election promises and create a more stable, prosperous future for Britain. The business community’s positive reception of these plans underscores the potential for these measures to drive substantial progress in the housing sector and beyond.

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