Today, 11th May 2021, the Queen is scheduled to deliver her traditional Queen’s Speech to parliament and is widely expected to announce a new planning bill that aims to make it easier for developers to deliver new homes to the UK market.
The Queen’s Speech is delivered to mark The State Opening of Parliament and the beginning of a new parliamentary year. Much of the content of the speech is co-created with the ruling government party, so this year, the Queen will be outlining things that Conservative Party hopes to achieve over the coming year.
This year, as housing continues to be front and centre of the public’s mind, the government is using the Queen’s Speech to unveil a new planning bill aimed at speeding up homeownership across the North and the Midlands.
The Conservatives have long been the party of homeowners and have a history of pushing for more ownership and less renting for UK citizens. The party sees it as a vital way for the economy to stay strong and for as many people as possible to have prosperous lives.
But they face a significant barrier to this vision – there simply aren’t enough houses.
This lack of market supply was a central focus for many candidates during last week’s local elections, all of whom pledged policies to deliver more new affordable homes than ever before.
Boris Johnson believes that too much regulation and red tape stands between developers and their ability (or perhaps willingness) to build enough properties, so these new measures are intended to loosen these restrictions, thus incentivising the creation of hundreds of thousands of new and affordable homes.
While this shortage of homes exists up and down the country, Boris believes that the Midlands and North East are two areas most in need right now. One slightly more cynical but likely just as truthful theory is that these two regions are a major focus for the Tories because they want to secure local support and votes for any and all upcoming elections.
The Times recently reported that the bill would represent “the biggest shake-up of England’s planning laws”, and that proposals will overhaul “rules that slow down and obstruct housebuilding and force all councils in England to dedicate land for either development or preservation”.
The Conservative Party has promised to build 300,000 homes a year. The Queen’s Speech will mark the true beginning of this effort but, if history tells us anything, we will have to keep a close eye on progress to ensure the government is fulfilling its optimistic pledge.