In her inaugural address as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves MP has outlined Labour’s agenda aimed at boosting the UK economy and addressing critical housing challenges.

With a pledge to make decisive and sometimes tough choices, Chancellor Reeves has set forth a vision to strengthen the economic foundations of the nation while ensuring sustainable development. (This report from Civic Voice)  Image by freepik

Speaking this morning in London, Reeves highlighted that central to Labour’s economic strategy are:

  • A commitment to deliver 1.5 million homes over five years,
  • Reforming the national planning policy framework,
  • Reinstating mandatory housing targets,
  • Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner will lead efforts to review green belt boundaries in collaboration with local councils and planning authorities.
  • The goal is to prioritise brownfield and “grey belt” land for sustainable housing development, while safeguarding the environmental integrity of green spaces.

Ian Harvey, Joint-Founder of Civic Voice, said: “At Civic Voice, we echo the sentiments of our members who support the need to build more genuinely affordable homes. With 71% of our members in agreement, it is clear that action is required to meet the ambitious target of 300,000 new homes annually. However, we recognise that achieving this goal cannot rely solely on commercial housebuilders driven by market forces. Addressing affordability through substantial investment in social housing is critical. Then there are the skills required, as well as the costs of materials which have risen sharply since Covid. Housebuilders will factor those into final costs. Ensuring that affordable housing is integrated into planning strategies is as crucial as investments in transportation or other critical infrastructure.”

In response to questions about potential opposition from ‘NIMBYs’ and winning over local residents on building plans, Chancellor Reeves affirmed that while local authorities will still decide where housing is built, the Labour government will reintroduce mandatory housing targets.

Martin Hamilton, Chair of Civic Voice, commented: “As set out in our manifesto to facilitate effective community engagement, we call on the Government to allocate resources to local councils for dedicated community planning officers. These officers would possess the necessary skills to engage with communities effectively, rebuild trust in the planning process, and ensure that local voices are heard and respected. Civic Voice stands ready to collaborate with the Government and stakeholders to achieve these objectives, promoting inclusive and sustainable development that benefits communities across the United Kingdom.”

Hamilton finished by saying: “Civic Voice looks forward to hearing from our members on their thoughts regarding these announcements. It’s crucial that our members contribute their perspectives as we work towards our vision of a society where everyone can be proud of where they live.”

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Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by Kingston Society