Thursday, 07 July 2022

Housing issues addressed in Queen’s Speech

THE Queen’s Speech was delivered by HRH The Prince of Wales last week. Setting out the government’s plans for the coming year, it focused on economic growth, the cost of living and the need to level up in the UK.

In this parliamentary session, the government’s plans concerning the property market and housing sector include a Social Housing Regulation Bill, which intends to increase regulation of the social housing sector and give tenants new rights to information.

The Renters Reform Bill will deliver a Conservative party manifesto commitment to end no-fault evictions after tenancies end.

The Levelling up and Regeneration Bill is expected to give councils new planning powers, including forcing landlords to let out empty shops to rejuvenate empty high streets.

In response, the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Simon Allford, said: “This was a Queen’s Speech delivered at a time of great political and economic change, so it is no surprise that a huge number of questions has been left unanswered.

“As further details emerge of the Government’s legislative agenda, I hope that we will see more detail on how built environment policy will be changed to address the climate emergency, building safety and the cost of living crisis.

“With spending likely to remain tight, it is vital that the Government finds a way to drive private investment in energy efficiency and sustainability.

“The proposals to improve design in the planning system are positive.

“But without extra funding for planning reforms, higher regulatory standards and a national retrofit strategy, the gap between rich areas and those in need of levelling up will continue to grow.”

Amanda Clack, past president of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and chair of the RICS construction and infrastructure forum, said: “The Government should consult widely to create opportunities for social and economic development as part of its levelling up agenda.

“It is positive that the government acknowledges the urgent need to reform the planning system which we widely support.

“If carefully constructed, planning reforms could help to deliver better outcomes for the benefit of both communities and developers.

“Investment and development can deliver the housing, jobs and commercial opportunities that will help to tackle regional inequalities within the UK.”

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