Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children
The Welsh Government recognises the importance of private sector house building, not only in providing much needed homes, but also the wider economic benefits house building generates through job creation and a whole range of supply chain effects.
In recent years, the housing industry in Wales has seen a sustained recovery – with an increasing trend in both new developments being started and new homes being built. This is good news and demonstrates the impact the Welsh Government’s policy is having through schemes such as Help to Buy – Wales, which as at the end of April 2017, has already supported the construction and sale of 5064 properties.
However, both the sector and the Welsh Government appreciate there is still more that needs to be done if we are to ensure that housing supply meets our growing housing need and is capable of meeting challenges such as fuel poverty, climate change and a changing demographic with the impact of these issues for example on health and social care..
The Welsh Government’s priority is to increase housing supply and maximise the benefits from construction through local jobs and apprenticeships. The delivery of 6,000 homes through the second phase of Help to Buy Wales also forms part of this Government’s target for the delivery of 20,000 affordable homes over this administration.
The Pact will help deliver on this commitment, and has been developed in partnership with the sector, working closely with the Home Builders Federation and the Federation of Master Builders.
The Pact sets out commitments from the Welsh Government, the HBF and FMB for the remainder of this administration, where the Welsh Government commits to:
- actively engage with the industry to help shape future housing policy and identify the most important barriers to housing supply in Wales.
- consider and clarify what will happen at the end of the second phase of the Help to Buy - Wales scheme.
- progress and monitor the positive planning agenda and Development Management changes.
- work with Local Authorities to ensure every planning authority in Wales adopts a Local Development Plan and carries out a timely review where required.
- work with Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) and third sector organisations to pro-actively encourage small and medium sized builders to engage in the LDP preparation process.
- identify the potential for more public sector land to be released for housing investment and in doing so, to take into account the needs of all house builders, from SMEs seeking smaller sites to larger companies with capacity to develop much larger pieces of land.
- develop new policies to encourage growth of small and medium sized house builders and work with industry explore options for encouraging SME general builders into the homes building market as main contractors.
- explore approaches to development viability at all stages of the planning process following the findings of the Longitudinal Viability Study.
- review the regulatory burden where possible to ensure that Wales remains competitive.
- work with LPAs to ensure the delivery of housing is monitored and that appropriate action is taken where a five year land supply cannot be demonstrated.
- explore how house builders can be supported to do more to address the challenges of fuel poverty, climate change and demographic change.
The HBF, FMB and their members commit to:
- make use of the Help to Buy - Wales scheme to give households the best possible opportunity to get onto the housing ladder.
- work in partnership with the Welsh Government, Local Authorities and others to increase the supply of new homes in Wales where possible.
- maximise community benefits through local investment and other targeted opportunities, including increasing provision of apprenticeships and training schemes and development of local SMEs.
- help develop the construction skills agenda.
- provide detailed evidence to inform and shape new housing policy.
- work with Housing Associations and Local Authorities to deliver affordable housing as part of private housing schemes.
- explore how they can help the development and delivery of new models of housing