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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is to take a lead role in supporting a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Planning to address the national housing emergency in the UK. The APPG for Housing and Planning, previously chaired by MP Tim Yeo, will now be chaired by James Cartlidge, Conservative MP for South Suffolk, and tasked with recommending wide ranging, innovative solutions to reshape the housing market. It will also look at ways of increasing the housing stock for both rental and private ownership, and speeding up building of sustainable housing in the UK, which now faces an annual shortfall of 130,000 homes. The APPG will consist of MPs from a range of urban and rural constituencies. RICS, which comprises over 90,000 professionals in the UK working across the construction, land and property markets, will support the group as Secretariat. ‘Housing is increasingly becoming one of the most critical policy challenges facing local and national government, and with a Housing Bill pending, it is likely to become more political and controversial,’ said Cartlidge. ‘In this context, a cross party Parliamentary group focused objectively on the national policy challenge of housing offers a vehicle for taking the debate forward in a way that is both positive and constructive,’ he explained. ‘Having spent my working life in the shared ownership housing sector, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing first time buyers, particularly in London. Equally, as a rural MP, I recognise the need for development to be sustainable. Ultimately, there are a whole raft of complex issues in housing and planning today but I hope that our APPG can make a real contribution to the debate,’ he added. RICS chief executive Sean Tompkins pointed out that in the region of 245,000 homes need to be built every year to address the UK's housing crisis. ‘The solutions we need must be innovative and wide ranging, but also grounded within a political framework which allows them to be implemented,’ he said. ‘A coherent housing strategy is also central to many other key issues for the country. For example, a decent roof over your head can enhance your health, academic achievement, job success and social inclusion,’ he added. He also pointed out that the organisation’s Royal Charter and public interest mandate makes it well placed to provide the framework for the constructive debates and broad conversations that must happen across the political spheres in order to develop the solutions. ‘Our expertise, research and market data will all be made available to the Group. The RICS believes there are solutions to be found and we look forward to assisting this new APPG with its valuable agenda,’ Tompkins concluded. Originally formed under the last Parliament, the APPG for Housing and Planning will look to deliver its first set of recommendations later this year. Continue reading →
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