On 2nd February, the Levelling Up White Paper was unveiled by Michael Gove the Levelling Up Secretary. This document aims to deliver a plan to transform the UK by opening up new opportunities to bring prosperity to all parts of it.
We’ve concluded the key points relevant to us and our valuable members:
- The White Paper notes that poor housing quality is leading to unnecessarily poor health and quality of life for many, and promises to take action by building more housing in England, including more affordable social housing, and launching a new drive on housing quality to make sure that homes are fit for the twenty-first century.
- The UK Government pledges to publish a White Paper in the Spring to consult on introducing a legally binding Decent Home Standard in the Private Rented Sector in line with mission 10 of the White Paper, and alongside this it will review the Decent Homes Standard to ensure that it is fit for purpose and applies across all tenures.
- The Government will explore a National Landlord Register, and bring forward other measures to protect tenants such as a ban on Section 21 evictions. It also promises to introduce a Social Housing Regulation Bill to improve the quality and regulation of social housing.
- The Government will engage with 20 towns and cities to undertake ambitious, King’s Cross-style regeneration projects.
- The White Paper states that the Government will “[address] poor energy efficiency by targeting retrofit funding at the worst performing homes and those least able to pay.” It references the Future Homes and Buildings Standard and existing green funding schemes, but does not announce any new policy measures or funding to deliver this. More broadly, the White Paper does not contain any new policy measures or funding for net zero.
- The White Paper provides minimal detail on planning reform, but states that local plans will be made simpler and shorter, and that the Government is developing models for a new infrastructure levy.
- The White Paper announces plans to extend devolution in England by offering regions the opportunity to negotiate Mayoral Combined Authority deals, however contains minimal detail on support or guidance for local authorities.
“Another key area of opportunity missing from today’s White Paper is a clear and long-term plan for decarbonising our buildings and training the hundreds of thousands of retrofit workers needed to deliver net zero. Measures that support a clear and effective plan to improve the quality and sustainability of the UK’s housing stock should be at the forefront of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda – but today’s paper signals a missed opportunity to outline this.”