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Agency urges Tories to implement housing white paper policies

A regional estate agency has urged the Government and the new housing minister to implement the policies outlined in the housing white paper as soon as possible.

Mullucks Wells, which operates in Hertfordshire and Essex, says the Conservatives must stick to their housing policies, despite losing their majority in last week's General Election.

The housing white paper, published in February after a lengthy delay, outlined 29 key proposals which could help to fix the 'broken' housing market.

Proposed policies include making more land available, continuing to protect the Green Belt and backing small and medium-sized housebuilders.

“The focus of the white paper was on building sustainable, affordable and quality houses, to help reverse generations of insufficient construction," says William Wells, Mullucks Wells' residential director.

"The paper also made it clear that the planning and house building processes need to be simplified if the country wants to increase its annual production of homes."

“For the prosperity of the market and the good of the country, it’s crucial that these aspects continue as planned,” he says.

Reading West MP Alok Sharma was announced as the new housing and planning minister on Tuesday evening. 

One of Sharma's key priorities will be delivering the policies outlined in the housing white paper. 

The appointment of Sharma - a qualified account who kept his seat with a majority of almost 3,000 at the General Election - has been broadly welcomed by the property industry.

However, Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, says he is concerned about the new housing minister's lack of industry experience.

"There’s no doubt that his background in accountancy will help with the role, but the housing market is in crisis," says McKenzie, who was previously a retail director at Countrywide.

The Guild boss says estate and letting agents need a government representative who will 'stand up for the industry'.

"I hope that Sharma can step up to the plate," he says. 

Meanwhile, Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, says a cross-party, non-partisan approach to determining housing policy is needed.

"The chronic shortage of housebuilding and the need for a joined-up policy across all housing tenures are recurring challenges that have faced every new housing minister and administration for longer than most people care to remember," says Williams.

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