Housing forms part of UK Government's Levelling Up Plan

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove MP unveiled the UK Government’s Levelling Up White Paper which sets out a complete ‘system change’ of how government works to level up the UK.

There are 12 bold national missions to be achieved by 2030 which will be given status in law in a flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. The White Paper represents a long-term plan to transform the UK.

Private Rented Sector

The UK Government will announce a plan, that for the first time ever, all homes in the private rented sector (PRS) will have to meet a minimum standard – the Decent Homes Standard.

Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will be abolished. Propertymark believes the only workable alternative is to strengthen all grounds for possession and make them all mandatory – this is in keeping with the spirit of the UK Government’s intentions as tenant’s won’t be evicted unless they have been provided with good reason to do so.

A consultation will take place on introducing a landlords’ register and will set out plans for a crackdown on rogue landlords to make sure fines and bans stop repeat offenders from leaving renters in terrible conditions. However, what is key for ‘levelling up’ the PRS is ensuring local authorities have the staff and resources needed to actively go out, inspect properties and prosecute.  

Supply of houses

The ‘80/20 rule’ which leads to 80 per cent of government funding for housing supply being directed at ‘maximum affordability areas’ – in practice, London and the South East – will be scrapped. Much of the £1.8 billion brownfield funding will be diverted to transforming brownfield sites in the North and Midlands. The Metro Mayors will be allocated £120 million of this funding.

Further commitment to building more genuinely affordable social housing is also included and a new Social Housing Regulation Bill will deliver upon the commitments the UK Government made following the Grenfell tragedy in 2017. Propertymark believes the long-term solution to address the lack of affordability in the PRS is to ensure that more social housing is built to reduce housing needs.

Owning a home

A new £1.5 billion Levelling Up Home Building Fund is being launched to boost homeownership, which will provide loans to SMEs and support the UK Government’s wider regeneration agenda in areas that are a priority for levelling up.

View details of the White Paper on Levelling Up the UK →

Everyone wants to see a crackdown on rogue landlords and safe and secure private rented homes, but additional standards are meaningless unless they are enforced. Abolishing Section 21 has been talked about for a while now by the UK Government but what agents want to know is what will replace it to maintain confidence in the market for landlords. 

On home ownership, the UK Government’s plans to address the imbalance of housing supply will be welcome in many parts of the country with a clear focus on providing more people with more opportunities to own their own home. However, there is no mention of the anticipated housing needs of older people and the planning system must remove known barriers to maximising delivery. 

Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark

The UK Government’s Levelling Up the UK White Paper’s acknowledgement of the significance of the devolved administrations in achieving its ambitions is welcome, and the intention for more collaborative approaches to tackle inequalities is encouraging to see.

However, the White Paper commits no new funding for these nations in order to achieve its objectives and provides no clear strategy for delivery.

Education, health and housing are key to ‘levelling up’, and devolved administrations must be afforded the resources to implement place-based policies that will meaningfully enhance communities and generate economic growth.

Daryl McIntosh Policy Manager | Propertymark