What should be the new PM’s property priorities?

The names are in. Theresa May stepped down as the UK Prime Minister on 7 June and 10 MPs are now in the running to be the next leader of the Conservative party. These include a couple with housing credentials: ex-housing secretary Sajid Javid and ex-housing minister Dominic Raab.

So what do people want to see for the property industry from the new PM and his or her new cabinet? Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, told the press that he is backing Michael Gove for the leadership. He said that the new Prime Minister needs to take a more interventionist approach to housing. And Conservative Lord Gary Porter, said that finishing off reforms to the Right to Buy is “top of his list” of priorities. He said it is crucial that Right to Buy discounts stimulate demand, and that capital receipts are kept by councils and reinvested in stock.

At Ringley we have our own wish list – and a few questions that we would like to see answered once the new PM is in place.

Do London and the South East have lessons to learn from the successful delivery of build to rent in the north of England?

First, we would like to know why Build to Rent is being most successfully delivered in the north of England? This is great news for northern towns and cities but we’d also like to see the government coming up with an effective policy to resolve housing affordability issues in London and the South East.

Also tied to affordability, we would like to see some thought given to whether space planning for residential property should be based on floor plates or volumetric planning?  This would allow for smaller, cheaper units but could include sleeping decks and other imaginative solutions to maximise the use of space. We would also love to see a new planning blueprint for high streets, so that we get uniformity in change of use, not the existing mess of different rules that effectively devalues properties.

Beyond property, other key priorities as we see it, are to:

  • create care incentives for families to take more responsibility for looking after their own elderly relations;
  • shorten degrees to a standard two years not three, to make higher education more affordable and get people work ready; and
  • increase the flexibility of apprenticeships and enable them to start on a one-day-per-week basis from age 14 for those not taking 8+ GCSEs, so that young people are work ready, not work shy.

We would also like to see more employers encouraged to take on apprentices as we do at Ringley.

These are some of the areas we would like the government to pay attention to but we’d love to hear your ideas too, so please leave a comment below.