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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

See the latest Coronavirus statistics from across the world on our world map SEE MAP UK Confirmed cases: 277,985 | UK Deaths: 39,369 SEE MAP Italy Confirmed cases: 233,515 | Italy Deaths: 33,530 | Italy Recovered: 160,092 SEE MAP Spain Confirmed cases: 239,932 | Spain Deaths: 27,127 | Spain Recovered: 150,376 SEE MAP See the latest Coronavirus statistics from across the world on our world map SEE MAP UK Confirmed cases: 277,985 | UK Deaths: 39,369 SEE MAP Italy Confirmed cases: 233,515 | Italy Deaths: 33,530 | Italy Recovered: 160,092 SEE MAP Spain Confirmed cases: 239,932 | Spain Deaths: 27,127 | Spain Recovered: 150,376 SEE MAP

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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Government Housing White Paper now tipped to appear on February 6

It’s been a long time coming but the government’s White Paper on Housing - tipped to contain major reforms affecting the lettings and construction sectors in particular - now looks likely to see the light of day on Monday February 6.

At the Conservative Party conference in September, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and housing minister Gavin Barwell suggested the document would be released before the end of the calendar year; then in December it was leaked by the government that the document would not appear until January.

Early this month there was much speculation about various release dates, including several hints from official sources that it might appear on January 16 - but that date passed and now, in further comments to industry journalists from government sources yesterday, the date of Monday February 6 appears favourite.

Amongst the issues expected to be addressed in the document are further incentives and planning prioritisation for institutionally-funded Build To Rent, possibly with modular construction and a relaxation of room size requirements for this sector in order to encourage more and faster building of private rental units.

In addition there may be incentives for ‘over-occupying’ older owners to vacate their homes, efforts to smooth out current planning bottlenecks hit by residential developers, and new attempts to identify and dispose of government-owned sites which are considered appropriate for housing.

Many industry observers also expect a fundamental re-shaping of policy on starter homes.

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