Foundations of the housing white paper are still being laid as Prime Minister Theresa May asks for more meat on the bones

 
Tracey Boles
Election - Urban Decay
Housing in crisis (Source: Getty)

The long-awaited housing white paper is still weeks from publication as the government looks for ways to beef it up so that it passes muster with the Prime Minister Theresa May.

The flagship policy document was originally pencilled in for publication late last year.

Several key industry figures had expected the white paper to be published this Monday. But they now believe it will come out the week after next at the earliest, with 30 January being eyed as a potential publication date.

A senior source close to the process said that the Prime Minister did not find early drafts of the policy blueprint “meaty” enough and that she was seeking a set of policies that could deliver on promises made.

The government has indicated that the much-trumpeted housing reforms will include “radical” solutions. It has vowed to build 1m new homes by 2020.

Government insiders told City A.M. that the housing paper could arrive within weeks, but they denied any suggestion it had been delayed from a launch next Monday. They added that Sajid Javid's Department for Communities and Local Government would need to brief other ministers before a white paper could be published, and that had not yet been done.

The new policy blueprint could seek to build on the Farmer Review, commissioned by two government departments last year, which called for more support for off-site and modular construction. Such pre-constructed housing can be put up in as little as 24 hours with at vastly reduced costs.

Earlier reports on the housing white paper have suggested that ministers were preparing to green light 100,000 of these types of homes.

Alongside Brexit, the housing plans are expected to be a key part of the Prime Minister's attempt to define her tenure, with May positioning the document this week alongside her recent comments on a “sharing society” and an incoming industrial strategy green paper.

A raft of housing policies have already been unveiled, leaving those in the sector scratching their heads as to what the government can pull out of the bag.

The government has announced that it will be giving £2.3bn in a housing infrastructure fund for building new homes in high demand areas and a £1.4bn fund for building 40,000 new homes. Meanwhile, London is getting £3.15bn for 90,000 affordable homes.

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