The new Built Environment Committee, chaired by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, has launched an inquiry into housing demand in the UK and how barriers to meeting this demand can be overcome.
The Committee invites interested individuals and organisations to submit written evidence to this inquiry by 10 September 2021. The Committee will hold evidence sessions between July and October 2021 and will publish its report in winter.
Diversity comes in many forms and hearing a range of different perspectives means that Committees are better informed and can more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation. Committees can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors and groups in society affected by a particular policy or piece of legislation. We encourage anyone with experience or expertise of an issue under investigation by a select committee to share their views with the Committee, with the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome.
The number of households in England is projected to rise from 23.2 million in 2018 to 26.9 million in 2043–an average increase of around 150,000 households per year. These trends are shaped by a range of factors, including population growth, immigration, rates of household formation and an aging population. This inquiry will consider how social and demographic changes affect housing demand in the UK.
The Government has set a target of building 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s, and for one million homes to be supplied by the end of the current Parliament. However, since 2005/6 the net number of new homes built per year has not exceeded 224,000. Looking beyond this target, the type, tenure and quality of new builds will affect whether the UK can meet its housing demand. It will also be important to get the balance right between private ownership, privately rented accommodation and social housing. This inquiry will investigate what can be done to ensure the balance of housing types meets housing demand in the UK.
This inquiry will also consider how barriers to meeting the UK’s housing demand can be overcome. These barriers include skills shortages and problems with guaranteeing the quality of new homes. While this inquiry will not undertake a wholesale review of the Government’s proposed reforms to the planning system, it will consider changes which may affect the ability to meet housing demand, such as permitted development rights, changes to Section 106 agreements and community engagement in the planning process.
The Committee will be undertaking some committee visits to inform the inquiry. We are interested to hear from interested stakeholders and individuals, companies, membership organisations, representative bodies, Government, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, academics, amongst others, about housing demand in the UK and how that demand can be met. We are also interested to learn from international comparisons.
The Committee seeks evidence on the following questions in particular:
1.What is the current composition of the UK’s housing sector? How is the sector structured in terms of private ownership, privately rented accommodation and social housing?
2.What social and demographic factors shape housing demand in the UK? What are the expected future trends in housing demand?
3.Does the Government’s target of 300,000 new homes per year accurately reflect housing demand? Is this target achievable?
4.What is the balance of demand for new housing between homes for private ownership, privately rented homes, and social housing? How does this affect the type and tenure required of new homes?
5.What can be done to ensure there is a good balance of new homes where they are needed across the UK?
6.Is the construction sector able to deliver the UK’s housing demand? What barriers are facing the sector?
7.The Government has published its proposals for reform of the planning system. How can the planning system be shaped to meet housing demand?
8.What can be done to improve the quality of new homes? How can the design and aesthetics of new homes be improved?
9.Is the workforce equipped with the professional, digital and other skills required to meet housing demand, for example in the construction, planning and design sectors? What can be done to overcome skills shortages?
10.How does the Government interact with Local Authorities to deliver more homes? How can this relationship be improved?
11.What are the main opportunities and areas of innovation for meeting the UK’s housing demand?