Housing White Paper publication pushed back again

Delays stoke fears of contentious policy ideas

The government’s much-anticipated Housing White Paper seems to have been pushed back again.

The document – which promises to outline the May administration’s housebuilding strategy – was originally due to be published at the end of 2016, before Communities Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs in November that this month, January, was the likely date. Now, it’s looking like February, with reports coming in of a 6th February release date.

Times journalist Tom Knowles tweeted yesterday that “It’s been a long time coming, but sources confirm housing white paper will be released Mon 6th Feb”.

Westminster chatter indicates that the Paper is already at Downing Street, but still needs a bit of spruce before being ready for public scrutiny. All the delays imply that there are some contentious ideas being floated in the document…

Many fear that the document will include punitive measures for developers, while some Tory MPs are worried that it will be too gung-ho on building in the Shires. The express aim of the White Paper is to speed up housing delivery, which is likely to be achieved through more streamlining of the planning process, more ambitious target numbers for local authorities, and both sticks and carrots for developers.