A weekly round-up of the most important headlines for housing professionals
While this latter step may look surprising, it makes sense. Barratt has presumably understood the cost of a levy is less than the cost of continuing with the status quo, especially if it helps unlock the frozen market for flat sales.
The builder would probably also prefer the certainty of a fixed levy to the incalculable risk of future fire safety liabilities, is in a strong enough cash position to handle a levy without any real pain and probably understands the value in an end to the slew of negative publicity – not just for Barratt but for the market in general – is worth more to its business than it would pay through a levy.
In the range of legislative responses the government could reach for due to the building crisis, Barratt may well also calculate that a levy is the least painful.
Designing a levy that also works for SME builders is a bigger challenge, but it is not beyond the wit of a government with a large parliamentary majority.
In other news, there were gloomy development figures from two of the sector’s bigger players, with both Sovereign and L&Q seeing a substantial fall in completions – but this is to be expected in a time of disease.
In other development news, the Scottish government abruptly wound up the Help to Buy scheme this week, blaming UK government budget cuts.
And in one to watch for the future, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has commissioned official research on the biggest question for the sector over the next 30 years: decarbonising social homes.
Peter Apps, deputy editor, Inside Housing
Editor’s picks: five must-read stories this week
- The post-Grenfell building safety crisis: a timeline
- Five things we know about One Housing Group’s financial struggles
- The consequences of the cladding crisis are affecting everyone in housing need
- It is time to end the customer or tenant debate and simply start offering better services
- Labour calls for National Cladding Taskforce as it outlines plan to fix building safety crisis