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Housing White Paper - what to expect from today's release

A series of leaks to national newspapers and a flurry of broadcast interviews by housing minister Gavin Barwell means we already know much of what will be announced in today’s Housing White Paper.

But expect surprises, too - it is unlikely the government has fully revealed its hand.

This is what we know so far:

- the government wants to offer a distinctive set of policies, separating the May administration from the previous Cameron one;

- there is likely to be a move away from Starter Homes, one of the big initiatives to get young people on the housing ladder, with housing minister Barwell already saying: “Housing has become more and more unaffordable for people who are trying to buy or trying to rent because governments for 30 or 40 years have not built enough homes”;

- homes are likely to be considered at transport hubs and above car parks, as well as on newly-identified and rapidly-released public sector land hitherto lying dormant;

- land-banking large developers are likely to be penalised for failing to utilise land within a shorter period of time than in the recent past and likewise councils will be penalised for failing to identify locations for five years’ worth of house building;

- once again the balancing act, mostly to keep Conservative MPs in rural constituencies onside, is expected to see the Green Bel remaining sacrosanct, despite hints to the contrary in recent weeks;

- housing minister Gavin Barwell used last weekend’s interviews to say there would be a continuation of the existing policy which permits Green Belt development only in the most  exceptional circumstances;

- yesterday, the Daily Telegraph carried a story suggesting that designated ancient woodland would also be protected against development;

- in the private rental sector there will be more emphasis on longer-term tenancies (typically three years);

- government ministers have hinted at additional incentives for Build To Rent, the creation of purpose-built institutionally-funded rental accommodation;

- “These measures will help renters have the security they need to be able to plan for the future while we ensure this is a country that works for everyone” according to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid;

- there may be financial incentives offered to older home-owners to vacate their properties and downsize, although the government emphasises that no one will be obliged to move if they do not wish to.

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    Moving away from Starter Homes now? What is the point of that? Government's insistence to 'move away' from previous administrations means we make no progress whatsoever. What about all the time and money that has been spent on developing the starter homes scheme over the past two years? Ridiculous thinking and makes it abundantly clear why there is a housing shortage/crisis in this country.

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