Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Appendix—Policy Goals for a Sustainable Housing Market


    —  the housing market should operate efficiently overall and in such a way that all needs are met

    —  there must be an adequate supply of housing to avoid homelessness and overcrowding, and provide for future requirements as they emerge

    —  there must be enough affordable housing for those on low incomes


    —  the housing market should provide a defined quality of housing stock, and should ensure that it continues to be of good quality, responding to changing social requirements and expectations

    —  housing is not a stock of fixed assets with an indefinite life, and there must be adequate levels of renewal to maintain the agreed quality standards

    —  new housing should be built efficiently


    —  housing must contribute to economic prosperity and stability, improve job prospects, facilitate mobility and help to reduce rather than exacerbate differences between regions

    —  housing systems should have as much flexibility as possible to cope with changing economic circumstances (both generally and for individual households)

    —  housing finance should be a mix of private and public funds

    —  public subsidies and taxation in housing should have clear purposes

  Combating poverty and disadvantage

    —  the housing system must help to prevent the poverty trap, reduce inequality and ensure that those whose financial circumstances change do not lose their access to good housing

    —  housing should help to combat discrimination and tackle disadvantage suffered by particular groups

    —  the way housing is provided should not stigmatise people and should be free of overt and institutional discrimination

    —  people who need support in order to stay in their homes should get it

  A healthy, secure and sustainable environment

    —  housing should be environmentally sustainable, in terms of how and where it is built, how it is used and how it relates to transport systems

    —  housing should provide an environment in which adults and children take pride in their home, feel secure and can lead independent lives

  Choice and accountability

    —  there should be as much choice as possible within housing—people should feel that they have chosen where they live, and whether they buy or rent (and who they rent from)—and be able to move between renting and buying and vice versa

    —  housing providers should empower the customer—both individually and collectively, with the right balance between the two, and between the power of the customer and of the provider

  Community sustainability

    —  through housing we should aim to reduce segregation of rich and poor, and build sustainable communities which are likely to be viable in the longer term without high levels of public sector intervention

    —  housing should be part of properly planned neighbourhoods with adequate local facilities such as schools, shops and public transport

    —  the ways in which housing is provided and run should be open to community accountability where this is required

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Prepared 2 May 2002