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Jo blogs... 13 February 2015

13 Feb 2015

Lead not Plead

Our Vision for Housing in the North: Securing Economic Growth and Regeneration for our Regions

The NHC believes that locally driven regeneration and a strengthened housing supply are critical to achieving the growth needed across the North to develop and rebalance our economy. Current policy does not recognise or achieve this. Recent polling carried out on our behalf by ComRes showed that people across the Country, not just in the North, want to see more being done to create prosperity in our Regions. We want the opportunities for the North to be realised through policy that recognises the different industrial and economic heritage, and housing markets of the North.

Many of you will know that the NHC act as the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Housing in the North, and over the last four years we have worked with the group to provide a better understanding of how policy impacts in the North. We have covered topics such as the economic impact of housing in the North, health and housing, welfare reform, housing supply and delivery, and the challenges of an ageing population.

We have drawn extensively on NHC members' experiences, views and visions for the future in working with the APPG and wider engagement with Civil Servants. We are very grateful for the input you have provided which has helped shape our thinking and also provided invaluable insight to politicians and civil servants alike.

With the support of the APPG Chair Ian Mearns MP and the NHC Board we are using this work to inform a Manifesto for housing in the North for the next parliament and beyond. This will be launched on 4th March at the final meeting of the APPG before the election.

Our manifesto welcomes the recent devolved powers dialogue and potential investment and freedoms this looks to bring. We know that more needs to be done to strengthen our tax base and to minimise welfare dependency, ensuring growth gives us income and integration, and reform reduces expenditure. We believe that housing and regeneration have central roles in achieving this, and want to see their integration in wider thinking as work progresses to deliver results quickly.

The NHC believes the job to drive the achievement of these aims is a partnership one for local government, for the housing sector and for private business with the support of central government.

We look forward to working with the incoming government to help shape this inclusive growth agenda and to contribute to unlocking our Regions economic potential. With this in mind we support calls for all parties to commit to:

  • End the housing crisis in a generation

Specifically for the North we call for an incoming government to:

  • Develop a clear overall housing and regeneration strategy within in its first year which
  • Commits to devolve detailed policy making, allowing locally determined housing and regeneration plans that best reflect local markets, opportunities and support both growth and reform.

Underneath these three themes sit a number of actions, many predicated on the need to build more houses, but also for the North recognising that its industrial and economic heritage brings significant challenges to land values and the ability to attract investment.

The document will be circulated to NHC members in the next two weeks and will include:

  • Actions to Improve Delivery,
  • Actions to Improve Affordability and
  • Actions to Improve Quality

To find out more or attend the APPG please contact me jo.boaden@northern-consortium.org.uk or charlotte.harrison@northern-consortium.org.uk.

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