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Hand housing policy to Bank of England – Precise

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  • 09/04/2015
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Hand housing policy to Bank of England – Precise
Housing policy is being used as “political football” and should instead be handed to the Bank of England to create an effective long-term strategy, argues Precise Mortgages managing director Alan Cleary.

Cleary said with housebuilding having failed to reach growth seen since the 1950s, it was an issue that could not be resolved within the confined space of a parliamentary term.

“Housing policy is a strategic issue affecting everybody in the UK. Political parties’ thinking is confined to one parliamentary term but housing needs a longer term strategy and should be looked at over a 50-year period,” he said.

“With this in mind, it would be sensible to hand the responsibility of housing policy to the Bank of England.

“All main parties are using housing as a political football and no political party has reigned over a period of house growth in line with demand since the 1950s when almost 350,000 new houses were being built a year. Today we struggle to hit 150,000.”

However, Charles Haresnape, managing director of mortgages at Aldermore, said the decisions taken around housing needed to be political.

“The Bank of England is a financial regulator and not a housing policy regulator. Instead I believe that the UK housing minister should have a higher status role in government than has previously been the case. I also believe there is scope for a more joined up housing policy.

“Whoever has responsibility of UK housing policy should be elected by the general population. I agree that house building should be a longer term issue, but whichever political party is elected should introduce policies and spending on housing that has an effect that lasts longer than a five-year term.”

In March, the Building Society Association (BSA) called for the next government to develop a 15-year strategic housing plan with the creation of a new housing ministry with a secretary of state in Cabinet.

Currently housing responsibility sits with a range of government departments and a number of industry figures have called for a more joined-up approach from the government.

Robert Thickett, mortgage policy adviser at the BSA said: “We would rather see the creation of a housing ministry with a secretary of state in cabinet. Housing needs to be at the centre of future governments, rather than the current situation where responsibility for housing is spread among a variety of government departments.

“It’s only by government working effectively with local authorities, developers, lenders and the wider population that we can ever have a chance of overcoming the current housing crisis.”

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