Westminster Social Policy Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Next steps for house building in England - policy developments, planning, investment and innovation

Morning, Monday, 21st June 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on next steps for house building in England.

The conference will be an opportunity to assess a range of significant policy initiatives and developments affecting the sector, including:

  • the National Home Building Fund
  • the Levelling Up Fund and plan to Build Back Better in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • the Affordable Homes Programme
  • the Planning for the future White Paper

We are very pleased to be able to include a ministerial session with Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for Housing, MHCLG; as well as further keynote contributions from Ann Bentley, Global Board Director, Rider Levett Bucknall; Victoria Hills, Chief Executive, RTPI; and Lord Kerslake, Chair, Peabody.

Areas for discussion include:

  • tackling barriers to housing delivery
  • supporting sector recovery from the pandemic
  • reform of the planning system
  • the role of innovation in design and construction

The agenda

  • Supporting house building projects in England, and priorities for sector recovery post-pandemic
  • Streamlining the planning process, engaging communities in development, and addressing infrastructure challenges
  • Funding projects across England’s regions, and dovetailing with the national levelling up agenda
  • Optimising land use for home building, financing new development, supporting people on to the housing ladder, and addressing shortfalls in affordable housing
  • Innovation in housing design, maximising quality and sustainability in build methods, and the future for off-site construction
  • Policy priorities for housebuilding in England
  • Supporting the building of social housing in England

Key areas for discussion:

Tackling barriers to building new homes - as well as priorities for accelerating the end-to-end process of housing delivery:

  • the impact of the pandemic - supporting housing providers and the construction industry as their businesses recover, including:
    • enhancing productivity
    • ensuring the sector has the skills it needs to succeed
    • tackling supply chain challenges
  • engaging and empowering local communities - funding projects across England’s regions and ensuring housing is delivered at the tenure and location needed
  • optimising land use - for home building and unlocking brownfield sites for development
  • shortfalls in affordable housing:
    • addressing inadequacies in affordable and social housing in England
    • the impact of the Affordable Homes Programme, and whether more needs to be done
  • funding and investment - attracting investment, and addressing the finance challenges for new housing developments, including:
    • learning from what works well in other sectors
    • innovative approaches to project financing
    • the role of government support, what more might be needed, and how and where it should be directed
  • supporting home ownership - as well as the impact of the mortgage guarantee scheme on the market and first-time buyers

Reforming the planning process:

  • proposed Government reforms - looking at proposals aimed at streamlining the planning process, and discussion of their impact
  • options for support - what more can be done to assist local authorities and planners
  • local and community needs - effectively engaging with communities in the planning and development of new homes

Innovating housing design and delivery:

  • latest thinking - looking at developments in:
    • innovative practices, such as Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)
    • wider off-site construction to meet future housing demand
    • improving the sustainability of new housing stock going forward
  • overcoming obstacles - whether more can be done to resolve barriers to the development of innovative housing throughout the planning, design and delivery stages

Background to the discussion:

  • the National Home Building Fund - the Government’s £7.1bn fund aims to unlock up to 860,000 homes, including plans to:
    • support people who want to build their own homes
    • enable SMEs to deliver innovative housing
    • opening up of brownfield sites for development
  • the Levelling Up Fund - with £4bn aimed at supporting economic development across the UK as part of the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda
  • the Affordable Homes Programme - the £11.5bn programme for 2021-2026, aimed at providing up to 180,000 new homes across the country
  • the Planning for the future White Paper:
    • setting out proposals to reform and streamline England’s current system
    • proposing a new Infrastructure Levy aimed at allowing local planning authorities to secure more on-site housing provision
  • Councils given power to build more homes for first time buyers and for social rent - a package announced by government enabling councils to use money secured through the Right to Buy scheme more freely, allowing them to spend this money on housing that best suits the needs of their communities
  • Budget 2021 - which includes plans to introduce a mortgage guarantee scheme to help buyers with a 5% deposit on homes with a value of up to £600,000
  • the Draft Building Safety Bill - aimed at reforming the building and fire safety system, and which includes plans to establish a new Building Safety Regulator (BSR)
  • The impact of MMC use on home building delivery phases - a research programme commissioned by Homes England to assess the impact of Modern Methods of Construction deployment
  • The charter for social housing residents: social housing white paper - putting forward a set of rights and expectations on behalf of residents

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from Defra; the Department for Education; the DWP; HM Revenue & Customs; the Office for National Statistics and the Office of Government Property.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from other stakeholders involved with UK house building including land and property developers, construction and architecture firms, urban planners, investment groups, business consultancies, financial advisers, law firms, logistics groups, resident associations, as well as researchers in academia and higher education, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Ann Bentley

Global Board Director, Rider Levett Bucknall

Keynote Speakers

Ann Bentley

Global Board Director, Rider Levett Bucknall

Victoria Hills

Chief Executive, RTPI

Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP

Minister of State for Housing, MHCLG

Lord Kerslake

Chair, Peabody


Ross Polkinghorne

Partner, Head of Real Estate Development, Burges Salmon