Housing: Construction

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 29 January 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Economics Statistics Centre of Excellence Estimating the UK population during the pandemic, published on 14 January, what plans they have to adjust their plans for housing provision as a result of population changes following (1) the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) the UK’s departure from the EU.

Photo of Lord Greenhalgh Lord Greenhalgh Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), The Minister of State, Home Department

Following consultation in August 2020 on proposed changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need, it was apparent that certainty and stability are important for our local communities, local authorities, and developers, especially in light of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In December, we therefore changed the method to focus greater need into authorities containing the largest proportion of the 20 most populated cities and urban centres in England, while other authorities saw no change compared to the previous method.

It is not yet clear what impact COVID-19 or our departure from the European Union will have on population estimates, if any. However, while we expect local authorities to plan, for a minimum period of 15 years, they can review their plans for housing during this period and must do so at least once every five years. This enables them to take into account changes in circumstances and to ensure policies remain effective.

As with all policies we will monitor the impact of the new standard method, including as any longer-term impact from changes to the way we live and work become clear. Our December announcement enables local areas to get on and plan based on a method and level of ambition that they are familiar with. This ensures that the planning system keeps moving, so it can play its full part in the economic recovery to come.

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