2020 visions

So what clues does the Lyons Review offers us about housing up to 2020? Here are some more thoughts.

The review is important in its own right as one of the most significant political reports on housing in the last ten years. However, it also gives us a much more detailed impression of what life will be like under a Labour government in the second half of this decade to add to the outlines of what we can expect under the Conservatives.

I argued in my blog last week that Lyons is good on housebuilding but offers little to supporters of social housing. If you judge the review by what it was asked to do (provide recommendations to Labour on how to get to 200,000 new homes a year in England by 2020) your verdict will tend to be positive. If on the other hand you ask whether recommendations made within these constraints are enough to solve the housing crisis you will be much more negative (for example, see this blog by Alex Hilton).

-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing



Lyons made

The Lyons Review is the most significant report on new housing supply in years but it’s much more convincing on private sector housebuilding than social housing.

Lyons picks up where Barker left off on housing in 2004 (and on planning in 2007) but with two added bits of context. First, we’ve gone backwards in the last ten years: annual output is around half what we needed and the backlog of unmet need is mounting by the day. Second, any solutions have to operate under severe political and financial constraints.

So anyone reading the report whose priority is more social housing will come away disappointed with the recommendations for a future Labour government. There will be no change in the borrowing rules for council housing and no increase in the borrowing caps except for potential swapping between authorities. The case for continuing and increased grant subsidy is accepted but subject to overall constraints on public spending in which social housing will be an unspecified ‘priority’ for more money.

And anyone hoping for a shift in the political obsession with aspiration and ownership rather than homes will already have been disappointed by the advance coverage. The Labour Party’s spin has been all about first-time buyers and ‘homes for locals’ even though they get relatively minor mentions in the report itself.

However, as with the launch setting of Milton Keynes the report offers solid grounds for optimism too. Here at last is consensus on a long-term strategy in place of the short-term gimmicks we’ve seen ever since the financial crisis.

-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing