News: Affordable homes body set up

A new body has been set up to provide independent advice on improving the provision of affordable homes.

The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit has been established by the government to provide independent advice on improving housing market affordability.

The unit will help strengthen the housing market evidence base and analysis currently available to the regional planning bodies. This will help to ensure that new homes identified in regional plans have a positive impact in improving housing affordability.

Housing and planning minister Yvette Cooper said: "The new unit will have a key role in offering advice and support to the regions in their work to ensure that new homes improve housing affordability.”

“The board members have an impressive calibre and a wide range of expertise in housing and economics which they will use to steer the work of the unit."

The NHPAU comprises an expert Board and a small specialist team of around 12 staff. The Board will shape and steer the work of the Unit. It will be fully staffed and operational in early 2007.

The NHPAU has been set up in response to one of the key recommendations in Kate Barker’s Review of Housing Supply, which found that during the last 30 years of the twentieth century house building rates halved whereas demand for new homes increased by a third.

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