Wider housing ends are defined by asocialdemocraticfuture, as a set of strategic inter-locking objectives and supporting reforms that need to be progressed and implemented in order to secure balanced and sustained growth that is socially just.
1 In order to secure sustained and stability in house price and improved affordability levels, where a home becomes once more a place to live in and less of a speculative financial investment decision, with a renewed focus on housing production rather than exchange;.
1a. a steady-state and sustainable annual new build housing supply level of between 225,000 and 275,000 dwellings in England (and pro rata Wales) taken over successive rolling three year periods, with a mid-point average of 250,000;
- The flattening of the construction cycle and the upward shift of the sector’s output and employment levels to a higher stable level, with an associated ending of labour casualization within the industry in order to improve training, health and safety, diversity, and tax take outcomes, and to provide access to sustainable, secure, well paid jobs and careers to an enlarged segment of the indigenous population, thus reducing the need for migrant labour;
- The deflation of the cost of land, both absolutely and as a proportionate input of the cost and prices of new dwellings, by the discouragement of the private developer hoarding of, and speculation in, land. The production of affordable housing should instead be incentivised by;
3a. the development of mechanisms embedded in the housing and planning systems to recycle windfall gains attributable to a change in planning permission in favour of residential accommodation into equity shares assigned for the perpetual benefit of low and moderate income future purchasers attached to a set proportion of dwellings provided on large sites (affordable dwellings);
- The reform of the public expenditure and accounting system, involving the:
4a. separation of wealth creating infrastructural investment from other claims on current taxation revenues;
4b. related development of customised planning and management expenditure control systems that reflect the different medium and long term macro-economic impacts of productive investment outlays and of current expenditures, as well as their interaction over time;
4c. re-direction of public spending on housing towards investment in new supply and assets; and away from current expenditures and reliefs, including expenditure on housing benefit transfer payments and the related subsidy of private landlords;
4c. related promotion of build to let rather than buy-to-let, encouraged by the phasing out of tax reliefs that support the purchase of existing housing assets, rather than additional new net housing supply, and longer term, the;
4d. establishment of a more efficient and equitable system of housing and property taxation.
- The associated blurring of tenure divisions and the related easing of tenure-based social apartheid, as part of a wider and transformative expansion of housing choice and opportunity for low and middle income households, with the associated linking of their tenure choices to their lifetime risk and income profile by;
5a. the development of an enlarged affordable housing sector offering a differentiated range of housing options at different rental and equity share levels, calibrated to align with different household circumstance profiles;
- The re-orientation of labour markets, more generally, towards the generation of the expanded opportunities for well-paid secure employment and for social advancement for the low and moderate income majority, rather than by a ‘race to the bottom’ in working conditions and pay. In that light, the possible advantages to both employers and employees, as well as the self-employed, of flexibility in hours worked and contract forms needs to be balanced with those derived from security and certainty of employment. People should be able to choose between different forms of employment, according to their circumstances, connected to;
7 the meshing of housing and income maintenance reforms in order to enhance work incentives to secure well paid work opportunities, rather than low paid insecure jobs, so reducing individual dependency on benefits and the public expenditure costs of that dependency.
The pursuit and development of most of these mechanisms will be attached with timescales that will straddle the tenure of succeeding governments. A perception of reversibility will also undermine or even make impossible their effective and sustainable implementation.
A measure of cross-party consensus supporting the wider housing ends reform agenda needs to be forged, therefore. Or, put another way, a technical and politically overlapping consensus needs to be sustained that is sufficient to provide enough political head of steam to bring them first into the realms of feasible political action, and then to progress and embed them as established policy ends.