Week commencing 27 August 2018

In today's bulletin

• More than half of UK wealth tied up in land
• Slow progress on both cycling and walking

• RenewableUK warns policy is threatening onshore wind industry
• Business confidence falls in face of Brexit uncertainties

Property, Planning and Regeneration

More than half of UK wealth tied up in land

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 29 August shows that the highest proportion of the UK’s wealth is tied up in land.
Land accounted for 51 per cent of the UK’s net worth in 2016, higher than any other G7 country.

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Risk of homelessness as benefit freeze hits low income households

According to The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), people on low incomes can no longer afford the lowest private rents – putting thousands at increased risk of homelessness. In more than 90 per cent of cases, Local Housing Allowance (LHA), a housing benefit for private renters, now fails to cover even the lowest of rents.
The CIH is warning that renting has become unaffordable for more low-income tenants since LHA rates were frozen for four years in 2016.

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Housebuilding registration up 35 per cent from 2017

On 29 August the National House Building Council (NHBC) released figures showing that 15,800 new homes were registered for construction in July. Compared to the same month in 2017 this is a 35 per cent increase in registrations.
For the rolling quarter, May to July, London saw an 86 per cent increase in registrations, which is due in part to an increase in the number of large housing associations and private rental sector developments registered in the capital.

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Mortgage lending reaches £24.6bn in July

Figures from UK Finance indicate that gross mortgage lending for the residential market reached £24.6 billion in July – 7.6 per cent higher than in 2017.
Re-mortgage approvals were 2.8 per cent higher than the previous year but approvals by main high street banks fell by 0.8 per cent.

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Think tank calls for land-price freeze to cut cost of new homes

The Institute for Public Policy Research has called for the value of land designated for housing to be frozen to deter speculators and reduce the cost of new homes.
Its report, The Invisible Land: The hidden force driving the UK’s unequal economy and broken housing market, published on 28 August, claimed the reform of the land market is essential if the UK is to be a more equal, more productive and stable economy.

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Retirement living market set to grow significantly in the UK

New research from real estate firm Knight Frank suggests that the number of properties being built for retired people is set to increase significantly by 2022 as the demand for this type of home rises in the UK due to an ageing population.
Its calculations suggest a need for three million retirement living properties to house the number of people over 65 that would consider downsizing.

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Generation Rent still see home ownership as ultimate goal

A new report from Collyer Bristow, Home Ownership and Aspirations, has found that home ownership remains the ultimate goal for ‘Generation Rent’.
The report, based on the hopes of a panel of 20 to 44-year old men and women in London and the South East living in rented accommodation and their own homes, found that 100 per cent of the 20 – 24 year olds surveyed hope to buy their own home, with price more important than location and deposits funded through savings.

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Half of councils in England at risk of being unable to meet demand for secondary school places

Analysis from the Local Government Association, published on 31 August, revealed that thousands of children in England risk missing out on secondary school places in the next five years, with more than half of all councils in England at risk of not being able to meet demand.
The analysis found that nearly 134,000 children will miss out on a secondary place by 2023/4 as a result of the surge in primary school pupils, unless new places are created.

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Transport

Slow progress on both cycling and walking

The Walking and Cycling Statistics; England 2017, released 30 August 2018, reveal the number of people walking has increased yet distance covered remained similar to previous years.
In contrast the number of miles covered by cyclists increased – on average 60 miles cycled per person per year – yet the number of trips stayed at a similar level to previous years.

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Elizabeth line now opening in Autumn 2019

The Elizabeth line through central London will open in Autumn 2019 instead of the originally schedule December 2018, Crossrail Limited announced on Friday 31 August.
The change in opening dates is to accommodate the completion of the final infrastructure needed and to provide time for the testing required to make sure the line is safe and reliable.

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Transport for growing cities

To solve transport issues in urban areas, facilitate further economic growth and create more healthy and vibrant environments in our cities, unnecessary motor traffic should be reduced or removed altogether.
This would free up space to make cycling and walking the new normal modes of transport, says Will Haynes, infrastructure director at Sustrans.

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Energy and environment

RenewableUK warns policy is threatening onshore wind industry

Renewable energy industry body RenewableUK has warned that the government’s policy of blocking onshore wind from competing for new power contracts is threatening investment in the industry.
This warning comes alongside a report, released by RenewableUK on Wednesday (30 August), showing a record high deployment of onshore wind last year.

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Plastic bag charge to be raised to 10p

The plastic bag charge will be raised to 10p and extended to all retailers, under plans released for consultation by the government on Thursday (30 August).
The current 5p charge was introduced in 2015, with government figures showing the charge has reduced usage in major supermarkets by 86 per cent.

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Other News

Business confidence falls in face of Brexit uncertainties

Almost a third of UK companies say Brexit is already having a negative effect on their business, as overall confidence dropped in August, according to Lloyds Bank’s latest Business Barometer.
Business confidence in the month fell six points to 23 percent, the lowest level since December 2017.

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