Response to the Queen's Speech
Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive at Stonewater, said:
“There is absolutely no doubt that the country has faced challenges we could never have imagined, since the previous Queen’s Speech 16-months ago.
“Among these, the pandemic has shown just how vital our homes are as places of sanctuary and highlighted the critical importance of everyone having access to safe, secure, affordable housing. The financial impacts have also compounded the issues, leaving many more in, at best, a fragile balance or, at worst, desperate need.
“Given the scale of the country’s worsening housing crisis, we were pleased to learn in today’s announcement that measures to modernise the planning system are being brought forward, which will mean more homes can be built, more quickly.
“Too often the current planning system throws spanner after spanner into the works and people have to wait much longer than they should for much-needed affordable homes. At Stonewater, we are already increasing our housebuilding to 1,500 affordable homes each year by 2025 and are keen to do more. With continued government support on grant levels and policy certainty, we can make public funds go further to provide the homes the country is crying out for.”
Nicholas added: “While we absolutely support the government’s ‘levelling up’ ambitions to ensure equal opportunities for all, particularly with regard to housing, we are also mindful that achieving this should not mean sacrificing our responsibility to care for the environment. Next to the pandemic, the environmental crisis is undoubtedly the biggest challenge facing the world today.
“It is also positive to hear the Queen announce that the government will be implementing the Building Safety Bill in the next parliamentary session.
“This Bill will provide a new building regulations system which should improve building safety in the long term. Post-Grenfell, this is greatly needed to ensure such tragedies are never repeated.
“Many of the proposals mentioned today are welcome, but we are yet to learn details on what they will entail and how they will take effect. We will keep a close eye on the Bills as they are announced and look forward to working with government in their ambitions to build back better in communities across the country.”