Bjorn Howard reacts to Prime Minster Theresa May's and James Brokenshire's Housing 2019 speeches

Bjorn Howard, group CEO of housing association Aster Group, said: 

It’s heartening to see that, amid a leadership contest and the ongoing Brexit saga, the Prime Minister is doing what she can to keep housing as close as possible to the top of the agenda.

We fully support Theresa May’s view that the housing sector must focus on quality as well as quantity. This was also echoed in James Brokenshire’s speech today, through the delivery of 19 new garden villages. But ‘quality’ must mean choice and variety as well as the standard of the homes we build. Ensuring we provide the right housing options – affordable rent and shared ownership as well as open-market sale – is essential if we are to cater for people across the UK living under vastly differing circumstances. This recognition is growing and from announcements like the new consultation for passporting deposits between private landlords, it’s clear that the focus has shifted to ensuring each area of the market is as fair as possible.

The Social Housing Green Paper also picks up on this. It contains plans that are vital to the health of the housing sector, such as an increased focus on shared ownership and ensuring the right blend of affordable housing is provided alongside what is available for owner-occupiers. The action plan for realising these ambitions promised by the Prime Minister is exactly what the sector has been waiting for and we’re ready to work with the Government to ensure it is mobilised effectively.

The tools and delivery methods we need to solve the housing crisis are already in place. The key now for both the Government and the housing sector is to ensure the work that’s already been started, is seen through.”

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