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LGA responds to Government plans to boost housebuilding

Responding to plans to boost housebuilding unveiled by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said the measures announced are an important step towards increasing the private sector's output.

"Housebuilding is well below the levels required to solve our housing crisis. The private sector clearly has an important role to play but it cannot build the homes we need on its own and government measures announced today to create a resurgence of SME builders are an important step towards increasing the private sector's output.

"Councils also support moves to bring forward wider packages of public land that can boost development but must remain able to manage their assets locally as they are best-placed to secure the best deal for local taxpayers.

"It is important for government to recognise that planning is not a barrier to housebuilding. Councils are approving nine in 10 planning applications yet our recent analysis also shows there are hundreds of thousands of homes with planning permission which are still waiting to be built.

"Tackling this growing housing backlog must be a priority and councils need more powers to encourage developers to build homes more quickly. Allowing councils to set planning fees locally would also allow them to cover costs and continue to develop a proactive planning approach for unlocking housing growth.

"A renaissance in house building by councils is ultimately needed if we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis. Councils must be able to replace sold homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need."

Notes to editors

  • To spark a revitalisation of council house building, the LGA is calling on government to allow councils to: 
    • Borrow to invest in housing in the same way that they are able to borrow to invest in other projects;
    • Keep 100 per cent of the receipts from properties sold through Right to Buy to build new homes;
    • Combine Right to Buy receipts with other funding, to use receipts to build through housing companies, and to count the value of council land in building replacements.
  • Research published by the LGA earlier this year revealed there are a record 475,647 homes in England which have been given planning permission but have yet to be built.
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