The long-awaited housing White Paper published this week ran into 104 pages. Here is a round up of the main points to takeaway from it, from Zoopla.

Firstly, what is White Paper?
‘A White Paper is a detailed policy document published by the Government that outlines its plans for a new law or set of laws. High profile papers are typically debated in the House of Commons. And the public can consider the plans and give feedback too. The proposed legislation – in the form of a formal Bill – is then voted on by both houses of Parliament (Commons and Lords). Finally, the Bill is (subject to final amendments, approvals and Royal Ascent) passed into law.’

Are the proposals set in stone?
‘The Government may take feedback into account when it draws up the proposed legislation. Not all White Papers lead to legislation.’

Key points from the White Paper:

1. Further details on the starter homes scheme
There will be some new restrictions around the scheme, which will only make the houses available to those with household incomes less than £80,000, cash buyers will not be eligible and if the starter home is sold within 15 years of purchase, some or all of the 20% discount will have to be repaid.

2. A reminder about the Lifetime ISA
The Government reinforced its support for first-time buyers with a reminder about its Lifetime ISA. The tax-free savings account is due to launch this April.

3. More protection for renters
‘Banning orders’ will be introduced, that would put unscrupulous landlords and agents out of business. It will give local councils the power to issue fines, and even prosecute.
To change planning rules to support the construction of more homes exclusively for rent, as well as promote longer tenancies.

4. Transparency and support for leaseholders
The Governement committed to promoting ‘fairness and transparency’ for the country’s leaseholders. Earlier this month, it offered funding to LEASE (the Leasehold Advisory Service), which offers free independent advice to leaseholders.

5. Redefine ‘housing need’
The means by which ‘housing need’ is assessed by local councils will be totally reformed. The Government will force councils to produce a realistic housing plan, reviewed every five years.

6. Unblock delays in development
The Government promised a crackdown on ‘unjustified delays’ to development by boosting local councils’ compulsory purchase order powers. Builders will be required to start construction within two years of being granted planning consent, opposed to the current three.

7. Support to open up the house building sector
Currently, 60% of new homes are built by just 10 major firms. The Government wants to broaden this and get housing associations and councils building too.

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