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Grant Shapps Speech

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Aspiring homeowners will be at the heart of the government's housing strategy, while property development will be put in the hands of local communities, the housing minister Grant Shapps said today.

In his first speech since being elected Shapps told a gathering of housing sector experts that "the age of aspiration is back".

"I don't agree with my predecessors that reducing homeownership might be a good thing," he said. "Most people still want to own their own homes and I want people to know that this government will support them in that."

He said that while he recognised renting can offer a better, more flexible solution for some people, he believed most would like to get a foot on the property ladder.

"To help them we need to get the deficit under control in order to give confidence to mortgage lenders to lend again," he said, adding that responsible lending and responsible borrowing were two sides of the same coin. "Borrowers will need to demonstrate financial responsibility and lenders will need to support creditworthy homeowners."

He would not be drawn on the specifics of how lenders would be encouraged to lend more, but said part of the solution was a "structural change" in how supply meets demand. The government intends to encourage more home building, he said, and in doing so will introduce local housing trusts that will enable communities to create "local housing for local people".

He said: "The more power you give away, the more people will create change." He offered a lifeline to many landlords saying that he did not believe in tackling the private rented sector with undue regulation, and confirmed the government's intention to ditch plans for a national register for landlords, a policy put forward by the previous government that would have seen all landlords forced to register to a national database.

The government's views on other recommendations of the Rugg review, which led to the proposal for a national register for landlords, would be revealed shortly, he said. "We will deal with rogue landlords, but we won't do that by penalising everybody."

The future of some shared-ownership schemes offering first-time buyers financial help to buy a home was in doubt, however, with Schapps claiming that "the cash for affordable housing has run out".

He said that while existing government-backed shared ownership schemes will not disappear entirely, he would be looking to the private sector to develop similar schemes.

His department would be "looking closely" at schemes that he believed had not worked. He named Social HomeBuy, which allows social housing tenants to buy their current home outright or on shared-ownership terms, and Rent to HomeBuy, which allows tenants to pay a reduced rent on their home to save for a deposit to buy the property. "A lot of money has gone into schemes that aren't delivering," he said.

On stamp duty Schapps did not say whether the government would continue with the existing exemption for properties under £250,000, but said any structural alterations to how the tax was levied were not a priority.

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He would not be drawn on the specifics of how lenders would be encouraged to lend more, but said part of the solution was a "structural change" in how supply meets demand.

Any ideas what this "structural change" might be

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He seems to have missed the most obvious way to create affordable housing: stop trying to artificially prop up unaffordable prices

Still, hopefully the money for doing so has/will soon run out.

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  • 399 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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