The Communities & Local Government Parliamentary Committee is responsible for scrutinising the work ofthe Department for Communities & Local Government whose responsibilitiesinclude housing. It has published a report on housing that concludes that abasket of measures, covering all tenures of housing, is needed if enoughfinance is to be made available to tackle the country's housing crisis. Thispaper summarises that report.
The committee says that there is no one 'silver bullet' with which the housing shortage can be removed. Many of the measures in the Government's housing strategy will provide a welcome boost inthe short to medium term. However, further action and a longer term approachwill be needed if we are to see a sustainable change in housing supply. Thecountry has not come close to delivering the number of homes it needs for manyyears, and this has been exacerbated by the recent financial crisis.
Institutions and structures that havetraditionally ignored housing should be encouraged to invest. Increased investment from large financial institutions and pension funds may not be apanacea, but could make a significant contribution to the building of new homesin both the private and social rented sectors. Public sector bodies and housingassociations should take steps to encourage institutional investment.
The parliamentary committee commentthat vehicles such as Real Estate Investment Trusts should be revamped toencourage investment in housing. The Government should also consider whetherthe remit of the Green Investment Bank can be expanded to cover housing and,potentially, wider infrastructure projects.
The committee believes that whileinstitutional investment could play a greater role, the private rented sectorwill continue to be dominated by smaller landlords. The Government should bringforward proposals to simplify tax and regulatory structures to encourageprivate landlords to expand their portfolios and invest in new build housing.
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