Homes England Should ‘take More Risk’ To Boost Housing Delivery, Says Review

Michael Gove

A new report has endorsed the role of Homes England but recommends that the housing body offload Help-to-Buy and building safety responsibilities.

The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) should authorise Homes England to “take more risk” to deliver more impact, according to a Cabinet Office review of the agency.

The 114-page public body review published yesterday reaffirms the crucial role the agency plays as a national public body of scale in place-making across the country, supporting local leaders, affordable housing providers and the private sector to turn housing and regeneration plans from a vision into reality for the benefit of communities.

In the past five years this has included:

+ supporting development of more than 186,400 new homes

+ Unlocking land that could deliver close to 400,000 additional new homes

helping more than 252,500 households into home ownership.

+ The review also recognises the unique expertise, capability and capacity Homes England is already putting to good use in driving delivery and outlines the potential to further expand its master development role in urban and new settlement areas.

Published by the DLUHC, the review is part of the government’s Public Bodies Review Programme, which routinely assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of all arm’s length bodies (ALBs).

Housing secretary Michael Gove said: “The independent report shows Homes England is the right vehicle to deliver more affordable homes and support our plans to regenerate towns and cities across the country.

“I welcome the report and its recommendations and we will work closely with Homes England to finalise an implementation plan. This builds on our long-term plan for housing to further strengthen Homes England’s record of delivery so we can deliver more homes that are affordable, beautiful, and built in the right places.”

Peter Freeman, Homes England chair commented: “I welcome such positive endorsement of the Agency’s efficiency and governance alongside recommendations for both improvement and for developing our mandate and structure.

“Much of this work is already happening. Other recommendations will require changes in partnership with the DLUHC and Treasury, but if progressed could be transformational in how we deliver new homes and create thriving places.

“While there is much to celebrate, we are steadfast in our resolve to always improve, ensuring that we are effective and efficient in driving forward the country’s housing and regeneration ambitions.

Peter Denton, Homes England chief executive added: “I’m proud the review acknowledges the hard work, talent and passion of our staff and partners throughout a challenging time for the market and sector.

“The report makes clear we have a crucial role to play in catalysing local regeneration and housing delivery by using our land, powers, funding and expertise – reducing risk to drive investment and harnessing the potential of private and public sector skills, capital and partnerships. Bringing all of these elements together means we are greater than the sum of our parts as a collective force to deliver effective change.

“Place-based work is central to this mission and well underway in numerous places, from Bradford, Bristol and Birmingham to Newcastle, Liverpool and Plymouth. By 2025 we expect to have entered into six strategic place partnerships with combined authorities, serving a combined population of more than 13million people.”

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