House of Lords Calls for Housebuilding Drive

Homebuilding in the UK must be dramatically increased to meet the need for new homes, the Lords Economic Affairs Committee has said.

Its report Building More Homes is calling for 300,000 homes to be built each year to tackle the housing crisis. This is a 50 per cent increase on the Government’s current target of 200,000 homes a year. Even this target has not been reached for ten years.

Housebuilding in the UK

Many of the report’s recommendations could affect self builders, including:

A stronger push to release public land for housebuilding

The report calls for public bodies, such as the Ministry of Defence, to stop aiming for the best market price when selling public land. It also says that a senior Cabinet Minister should have overall responsibility for the release of public land for housing.

The number of new homes the Government expects to be built on public land by 2020 is nearly one third of its current homebuilding target.

A new council tax on developers that are too slow to build

This penalises large developers that artificially create demand for housing by sitting on development plans.

“There is a large gap between the numbers of planning permissions granted and the number of houses actually built,” the report states.

“To penalise hoarders of permissioned land, local authorities should be granted the power to levy council tax on developments that are not completed within a set time period.”

New scope for local authorities to increase planning fees

“The whole planning process should be simpler, more transparent and more helpful to small builders,” the report says.

Other recommendations are aimed at helping councils take up their traditional role as builders of social and affordable housing.

The report was published on 15 July 2016.

“The country needs to build 300,000 homes a year for the foreseeable future, says Lord Hollick, chairman of the committee.

“The private sector alone cannot deliver that. It has neither the ability nor motivation to do so.

We need local government and housing associations to get back into the business of building.”

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