About housing

The Government is getting the  housing market - and in particular new housebuilding - moving again through delivering proposals outlined in Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England (see Related Publications, below). This builds on existing policy with a series of key measures for the future of housing in England.

What we want to achieve

  • Increase the number of homes available to rent, including affordable homes, and the opportunities for people to own their home, whether through access to mortgage finance or by reinvigorating Right to Buy
  • Improve the flexibility of social housing (increasing mobility and choice)
  • Protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged by tackling homelessness and support people to stay in their homes
  • Make sure that homes are of high quality, sustainable, and well designed


The Department for Communities and Local Government is the government department responsible for developing government housing policy in England.

A growing and an ageing population necessitates building more homes, including affordable ones, and for existing homes to be managed more efficiently.

In addressing the public deficit the Government is intent on creating the economic conditions necessary to allow more individuals to take responsibility for meeting their own and their families' housing needs whether they wish to buy or rent. Most people aspire to own their own home and the Government wants to support people with that aspiration as long as they can sustain homeownership. Social housing will provide support for families who need it for as long as they need it.

What we are doing

Increasing the number of houses available to rent, including affordable housing, and the opportunities for people to own their home, whether through access to mortgage finance or by reinvigorating Right to Buy

The Government will return decision-making powers on housing and planning to local communities, and in its drive for localism it will allow them to protect the character of their neighbourhoods. Local people will determine where best to build the new homes and the local facilities they know are necessary to make their communities successful.

Powerful financial incentives will mean that local people will see the benefit in building new homes and we will continue to invest in affordable homes, including making public sector land available to house builders and supporting communities to deliver the development they want.

We recognise that the private rented sector meets a wide range of housing needs, contributes to greater labour market mobility and is increasingly the tenure of choice for the young. The private rented sector is already governed by a well established legal framework. We will support growth and investment in the private rented housing market, as the key to increasing choice, access and standards in the sector and working with local authorities to tackle the worst properties.

We will also address the problem of homes lying empty while people have nowhere to live through funding for community led initiatives.

Improving the flexibility of social housing (increasing mobility and choice)

The Government will make sure that public investment in social housing is properly targeted at the most in need. Building more affordable housing is necessary but we will also make it easier for social tenants to move for work or if their needs change, their family grows or their children leave home.

The aim of policy will be to increase the efficiency and flexibility of the social housing sector, while giving more power to tenants. Decentralising power in this way is essential to the creation of the Big Society.

Protecting the vulnerable and disadvantaged tackling homelessness and supporting people to stay in their homes

The Government is committed to protecting the most vulnerable and will work in partnership with local authorities, charities and other organisations, to tackle homelessness and end rough sleeping. We will make sure that the Supporting People programme gives local authorities the flexibility to best help vulnerable people to live independently.

We are also helping people who are in danger of repossession because they cannot meet their mortgage repayments.

Making sure that homes are of high quality, sustainable, and well designed

We support communities in their desire to take the lead in shaping new developments in their area and their wish to see higher standards of design and sustainability.

We will make sure that homes meet the standards necessary to support commitments to cut carbon emissions and that people can reduce their impact on the environment.

We will reform council housing financing so that local authorities have control over how they improve the quality of the homes they own and the service they offer their tenants.

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