Cameron promises ‘Tory housing revolution’

Aaron Morby 13 years ago
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David Cameron yesterday pledged to inspire a Tory housing revolution and underlined his commitment to sweeping planning reform.

In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the Prime Minister said he recognised there was a failure in the housing market.

He said that was why Government was unveiling important new measures to stimulate building.

He also had harsh words for those opposing planning reforms, warning that businesses could not expand as they were “stuck in the mud of our planning system”.

“To those who just oppose everything we’re doing, my message is this: take your arguments down to the job centre. We’ve got to get Britain back to work.”

He said: “The failure of the housing market is bound up in the debt crisis. Because lenders won’t lend, builders won’t build and buyers can’t buy,” he said.

“We’re sorting this out, bringing back the right-to-buy,” he said.

“We will use the money to build new homes. Macmillan made us the party of the property-owning democracy. Margaret Thatcher gave people the right-to-buy.

“Now let us, in this generation, inspire a new Tory housing revolution.”

His revitalised right-to-buy scheme will see more attractive discounts offered to tenants to buy there homes.

Cash from this will be funneled into a second wave of affordable housing grants expected to allow the construction of 100,000 new homes to be built.

Government also plans to release thousands of acres of public land for house building. A further 100,000 homes could be built under the new scheme, which will allow house builders and housing associations to build now and pay later for land.

He also said he sympathised with sections of the public concerned for the safety of the green belt under plans for a new National Planning Policy Framework.

“But let’s get the balance right. The proportion of England that is currently built up is 9%. Yes, 9%.

“There are businesses out there desperate to expand, to hire thousands of people – but they’re stuck in the mud of our planning system.

“Of course we are open to constructive ideas about how to get this right.”

Cameron said: “It’s hard to blame local people for opposing developments when they get none of the benefits.

“If new homes get built – you keep the council tax. This is a localist plan from a localist party.”

Several Government departments have published their land disposal strategies. These include the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Health, the Department for Transport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said last night: “The Government is one of the country’s biggest landlords, so at a time when we desperately need more homes, we have a critical role in making new sites available for developers and communities.

“So I’m delighted that Government departments have quickly taken up the ambitious challenge to release land with capacity for over 50,000 new homes, and that property specialists will continue to work with these departments to make sure that no stone is left unturned.

“I will look to ensure that as much of this public land as possible is available under our innovative Build Now, Pay Later model – helping get developers on site and laying the foundations for these homes as quickly as possible.”

Shapps also outlined an “improved process” for requesting the sale of public land and buildings by filling in a “user friendly form”, alongside a website mapping public sector assets owned by councils and other public bodies.

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