A green paper, announced on Monday, includes plans for new investments, targets and proposals in order to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent plans to build three million more homes by 2020.
Contained in the paper is the commitment to build at least 70,000 affordable houses a year by 2010-11, including 45,000 new social homes a year. This is supported by the £8bn investment from the Comprehensive Spending Review for 2008 to 2010-11 – an increase of £3bn on the current spending period.
Housing Minister Yvette Cooper has described the paper as “a green Green Paper”, thanks to it’s commitment to increasing the sustainability of new homes. The Government will also be encouraging councils and developers to bid to host at least five zero-carbon eco-towns, to provide 5,000-20,000 new homes each by 2016. From 2016, if Government targets are met, all new homes will be zero carbon, with interim goals of a 25% reduction in carbon emissions from new homes by 2010, rising to a 44% reduction by 2013.
Speaking on Monday, Ms Cooper said: “We need to build more homes across England. Every part of the country needs more affordable homes. We need more homes – but we need better-designed, more sustainable homes.”
Reaction from the construction industry has been one of reserved welcome. The Construction Products Association said that while they welcomed the paper, the Government needs to do more make existing housing stock more efficient.
Chief executive of the CPA , Michael Ankers said yesterday: “Whilst overall we welcome the green paper, we are disappointed that it does not address the problems of existing housing. It is important that the Government addresses the standards for existing stock alongside those for new houses.”