Housing

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 5:30 pm, 9th April 2019

The hon. Gentleman raises a pertinent point. As I tour the country, I go to lots of places in all parts of the country with significant brownfield land. One of the cries I hear from people in meetings is, “Where have all the bungalows gone?” That is a proxy for: where is the move-on space for older people whose children have left home and feel they need to downsize? We are keen to try to stimulate and encourage an, if you like, less than prime market that provides the kind of homes that older people would like to occupy. Key to that will be encouraging more participants in the house building market, as well as giving local authorities, as we have in the National Planning Policy Framework, the power to devise in their plans the type of housing that they need. It is perfectly possible for the hon. Gentleman’s local authority to signal in its plan that that is the kind of housing it requires.

We have also seen how community support increases when we build homes that grow a sense of place, rather than undermine it. It is why we are championing design and quality through the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. We reinforced that in February when we hosted a second national design conference. It is increasingly important as we create new settlements across the country, such as garden communities. Last month, we announced support for a further five garden towns with the potential to deliver up to 65,000 homes, in addition to the 23 locally led garden communities we are already supporting.

It is not just about getting numbers up, however. We are determined to put fairness back at the heart of the housing market. Our commitment to restore the dream of home ownership remains as strong as ever. That is why we have committed to a new Help to Buy scheme, which will run from April 2021 to 2023. We have cut stamp duty for first-time buyers and put a call out for evidence on innovation in shared ownership. We believe that the private rental market can be a stronger platform for those aspiring to home ownership, turning “generation rent” into “generation own”.