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16/09/2021

Think tank calls for key worker housing allocations in local plans

Words: Huw Morris
Key workers

Local plans should contain a new category of housing for key workers with land set aside to build 50,000 such homes year.

Under the proposal by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), new local plans envisaged by the government’s planning reforms should be allocated for 'Homes for Heroes' across England, giving a total of 250,000 homes across the five-year land supply.

The new type of housing for public and private sector key workers would help to increase the supply of homes overall, a key government objective of its planning reforms, while complementing the new First Home product to boost ownership over the rest of this decade, the think tank said.

'Homes for Heroes' would encourage private investors to work with local authorities to delivering affordable homes for key workers, it added. A large proportion of all homes on any of these sites could offer a lower-cost path to home ownership, such as shared ownership or rent to buy, with the remainder dedicated to family rental property with strong tenancy protections.

The move would help those with secure jobs to get on to the housing ladder and gradually increase their ownership share, without the need for a hefty deposit, the CPS argued. The policy could be achieved at no cost to the public purse by enabling Homes for Heroes to benefit from the £5 billion in unallocated housing guarantees to which the government is already committed.

CPS head of policy Alex Morton, a former No 10 Downing Street housing and planning adviser, said the proposal would help fulfil the 2019 Conservative manifesto’s pledge to provide housing for key workers in their communities as well as increasing housebuilding by creating a new market.

“If these policies are pursued, we could see the first Homes for Heroes delivered very rapidly with more in the pipeline – a clear thank you for the key workers who put so much on the line during the recent pandemic,” he added. “This would deliver the government’s goals of more home ownership, greater supply and a better-quality housing sector, and provide a model for future housing development.”

Image credit | iStock

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