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Policy update from CE National – June 23 2023

Part 1 Consultation on draft regulations to implement the Procurement Bill

This is a technical consultation, split into two parts. This first part of the consultation refers predominantly to areas of the Bill which require lists, calculations or further definitions to be used in practice. Questions seek to understand to what extent the draft secondary legislation provisions implement the policy intent as established in the Bill. Part 1 Consultation on draft regulations to implement the Procurement Bill – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Evaluation of Whole House Retrofit and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund

On Wednesday (21 June), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero launched an initial evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of management and delivery processes for its Whole House Retrofit Innovation Competition (WHR) and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF). WHR was designed with the purpose of testing whether whole house retrofit could be deployed at scale through innovative methods to halve costs per house. However, WHR-funded projects faced a range delivery challenges, most notably the impacts of the pandemic on supply chains and workforce availability. Evidence suggests that the launch of the scheme alongside the SHDF additionally put pressure on an immature market.

The SHDF managed to learn from the WHR and had lowered energy performance and cost reduction targets, thus achieving greater success in spite of ongoing supply chain challenges. A full outcome and economic evaluation is ongoing, and a Final Evaluation Report will be published in 2023.

New scheme to support graduates into town and planning careers 

On Wednesday (21 June), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced a £1.59 million grant for the Local Government Association to fund a new scheme to support graduates into the planning sector. The newly launched Pathways to Planning Programme will place graduates in councils, where around 30 people will be able to secure a placement while receiving a bursary to study towards a planning masters. The Department will be funding the scheme over two years to support the LGA in setting up and delivering the programme.

National Housing Federation urges policymakers to implement a long-term housing plan

On Tuesday (20 June), the National Housing Federation (NHF) launched a report on the need for a long-term plan for housing. The NHF state that successive governments have focused on policies and funding decisions that prioritise increasing homeownership. The NHF report suggests that some policy decisions may have resulted in rising housing costs, worsening the housing crisis at all levels. For example, an LSE study found that Help to Buy increased house prices rather than improving affordability,  whilst less than a quarter of the social homes purchased by tenants under the Right to Buy have been replaced,  intensifying the shortage, and pushing up demand and prices in the private rented sector. Through YouGov, The NHF have undertaken a poll regarding building different types of homes. When asked if the government should prioritise building social housing, homes for sale or homes for private rent, over half of those polled said social housing (53 percent) compared to a fifth who said homes for sale (21 percent), and less than one in 10 said homes for private rent (7 percent).

LGA’s response to DLUHC’s technical consultation on the Infrastructure Levy

On Friday (16 June), the Local Government Association, along with 29 other bodies across the sector, wrote to government to urge them not to introduce the proposed Infrastructure Levy. The group expressed serious concerns that the levy will result in fewer affordable homes delivered, will expose councils to excessive levels of financial risks, and be increasingly burdensome and complex for local authorities to implement and manage. The letter instead proposes that the retention and improvement of the current developer contribution system is the most appropriate solution.

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