The Planning (Affordable Housing and Land Compensation) Bill

In between all the furor around Brexit, there is continuing cross-party work on other issues of import in Parliament.

In a press release this week, Vince Cable noted:

“…the major effect of Help to Buy is to drive up demand while having no effect on supply. Prices go up and buyers are forced off the housing ladder. The result is not help for those who need it, but a boost to the profits of big developers.
Liberal Democrats have set out how government could be delivering 300,000 homes a year over the next decade, by creating a British Housing Company as a dedicated, not-for-profit body to build on land acquired compulsorily without profits from land scarcity.”

Also this week Norman Lamb co-sponsored a ten-minute rule bill concerned with affordable housing to rent. The bill was presented by Helen Hayes, Labour member for Dulwich and West Norwood, with cross-party support, and is available on the BBC Parliament Channel https://tinyurl.com/y5zfdfs3.

The bills principal aims are to:

1. To re-establish the link between the definition of affordable homes for rent and income, replacing the current definition of up to 80% of the market price with a definition of:
“No more than 35% of net household income for lowest quartile income groups in each local authority area.”

2. To create a new requirement in planning law for local planning authorities to have a duty to include a policy in their local plans to capture betterment values where they arise, formally establishing a legal duty in the planning system to capture land value to be used for the benefit of communities.

3. To specify in law the key factors used for viability testing in relation to planning decisions, including placing explicit limitations on the expectations of developer profit and land values for compulsory purchase via amendment of the Land Compensation Act 1961.

Inside Housing magazine, features an article by Southwark Labour councilor, Leo Pollak. cabinet member for “social regeneration, great estates and new council homes at Southwark Council”. In which he writes

“The housing crisis cannot be solved without [a] long overdue land reform for cities.”

and

“…Conservative council leaders calling for radical caps on land speculator profits, and researchers and commentators like Daniel Bentley [Civitas], Rose Grayston [Shelter] and Thomas Aubrey [Centre for progressive policy] from different parts of the political spectrum have all highlighted the perversities of the current land trading system.”

Sir Vince Cable, in his capacity as Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture, is in a unique position to bring together cross-party support around the issue of affordable housing.

* Joe is a member of Hounslow Liberal Democrats and Chair of ALTER.

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2 Comments

  • government could be delivering 300,000 homes a year over the next decade
    and totally fail to deliver anything meaningful on the UK’s environmental obligations, something the LibDems are also committed to delivering on…

    Given that the LibDems have been calling for this since at least 2010, I suggest it is time to realise that a significant increase in the number of homes being built isn’t going to happen and that it is time to work within this constraint and all its ramifications…

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