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A road map to a coherent housing policy

The actions needed to solve the housing crisis

At Family Building Society, we take a very keen interest in the overall nature of the housing market.

Over the past 18 months, we have commissioned the London School of Economics to work on a set of independent reports exploring the contradictions and perverse incentives inherent in the current policy framework, and putting forward a set of suggestions for a more coherent, strategic approach. 

A road map to a coherent housing policy

Our latest report, 'A road map to a coherent housing policy' with forewords by Lord Heseltine and Lord Mandelson, is calling on politicians, key national and local government departments, as well as the Bank of England, to cooperate on solving the UK’s current housing crisis.

That is the simple way to produce a realistic, coherent and consistent policy, say the authors Professor Christine Whitehead of the London School of Economics and University of Sheffield's Professor Anthony Crook. "While we do need to build more homes of the right kind in the right places (1%), the key is to optimise the use of the existing housing stock (99%) to help the elderly to downsize, growing families, and first-time buyers”, they say. 

'A road map to a coherent housing policy' notes that there has been a seemingly unending stream of reports, over decades, saying that the housing system is broken. These usually stress a particular problem, often new build, and advocate a solution which would actually change, very little. Without an integrated strategy covering housing as a whole which includes providing housing of a safe and acceptable standard, individual policy solutions are likely to bring very limited success.

Focus on stock not mainly on new building

The authors say while new build of all types is obviously extremely important, and must be increased, at best it only accounts annually for around one per cent of the stock. What can bring larger and more immediate benefits is to use the 99 per cent of housing already in existence more efficiently.

Lubricate the market

They want Stamp Duty to be waived immediately for the over 65s, who own more and bigger homes, which would free up homes for families and reduce costs of care, local authorities to provide complete local plans showing where homes could be built, and an increase in funding for social housing. And moving generates economic activity which generates other revenue for the Government.

Mark Bogard, Family Building Society Chief Executive said: “Solving the housing crisis is not that hard as our report shows".

“The Government’s latest long-term plan for housing does not address the issues highlighted in our report. Specifically, there is no mention of making the existing stock more efficient, creating more social rented housing, proper support for home ownership, creating a more effective and affordable rented sector or setting achievable targets and updating local plans to reach those targets".

“There has to be greater coherence, consistency and resilience in housing policy which is why we need a Minister of Housing as one of the great offices of state – not a repeat of the shambles of the last 25 years”.


Download the report here


Launch event recording

You can watch a live recording of the launch event where authors Professor Christine Whitehead (Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics, LSE London) and Professor Tony Crook (Emeritus Professor of Town and Regional Planning at Sheffield University), were joined by our CEO Mark Bogard to discuss the highlights of the report. 

Please use password: WPj&56vH

Watch the launch event

Achieving a more coherent and consistent approach to housing policy

The previous report we comissioned by the London School of Economics (LSE), 'Achieving a more coherent and consistent approach to housing policy', set out starkly the failure to create an integrated housing policy or to learn the lessons from earlier attempts from major housing reviews since the 1970s. This follows on from our ‘Why is housing policy such a mess?’ published on 8 February 2023.

This expanded and detailed report highlighted;

  • there are too many decision makers
  • housing policy is not fit for purpose
  • the right number of homes in the right locations are not being built.

Mark Bogard, CEO of Family Building Society said: “The greatest failure is not giving housing the status it deserves. The Minister for Housing should hold one of the Great Offices of State, alongside the Treasury, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Home Office. It is shocking that the revolving ministerial door has witnessed 15 housing ministers, none a Secretary of State, come and go since 2010, which is bonkers".

Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics at the LSE, Christine Whitehead, who with Tony Crook from the University of Sheffield wrote the report commented: “Macro-economic stability must always take precedence over everything else. But it is absolutely necessary that decision makers take notice of the consequences to housing and develop policies to make the sector more robust.”

Download the report here