Minister: no longer non-committal with housing

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The Cabinet is going to focus “even more firmly” on the construction of houses. “The non-committal nature of ambitions and agreements must be removed,” Minister Van Veldhoven (Housing) writes to the House of Representatives. He will talk about the large housing shortage tomorrow.

In fact, 75,000 homes have to be built each year, but many new-build projects do not get off the ground. Moreover, the population is increasing faster than expected, which means that more houses are needed. In the major cities, one needs to be added to every five homes in the next ten years.

Van Veldhoven wants to look more at the type of housing that is needed. Starters and middle-income people in particular must have better opportunities in the housing market, but also specific groups such as the homeless and the elderly deserve more attention.

Force

In consultation with municipalities and provinces, the minister wants to play an active role in identifying locations where construction can take place. In addition, “solid choices” are needed, it may also be that they will force local governments to build new neighborhoods: “If there is no other option, I will use legal powers,” she writes.

Van Veldhoven recently threatened to intervene in Katwijk, where after fourteen years no further work has been started on the development of the former Valkenburg airport. Today it was announced that the parties there still reached agreement on the construction of 5,000 homes.

Almere

Yet impatience grows in politics in The Hague. Government parties CDA and D66 insisted today that a new neighborhood with 25,000 houses will be built near Almere, with a metro connection to Amsterdam. But the financing thereof is not yet complete.

“The cabinet has underestimated the problem of housing shortage and has achieved little,” says political reporter Ron Fresen. “It also somewhat demonstrates the impotence of politics.” According to Fresen, Van Veldhoven is responding to the call from many parties to, just like in the past, designate areas from The Hague where homes should be.

The government also wants to encourage housing corporations to build more. That is why a discount was announced on Prinsjesdag on the landlord’s tax that corporations pay. This will release 1 billion euros over the next ten years.

The scheme has only just opened, but according to Van Veldhoven there is a lot of interest. Applications have now been submitted for the construction of nearly 22,000 homes. The corporations have five years to realize that.



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