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Housing and Homes

Part of Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:28 pm on 15th May 2018.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 4:28 pm, 15th May 2018

The hon. Lady will be aware of the borrowing cap issue and how we have made changes around that, and I also gently point out that when her party was in power house building starts fell by 45% in 12 years and homes purchased in England fell by over 40%. I make that point to underline that there are challenges that have existed for many years under a number of different Governments, and that is why this Government are determined to make progress and address the key issues that I have highlighted.

First, on planning and build-out, this Government recently set out a bold and comprehensive approach via our new national planning policy framework. This will help us to build more high-quality homes in the places people want to live. The consultation recently closed and my Department is looking carefully at the responses we received. The framework implements reforms from the housing White Paper and further steps announced at the Budget. It also strengthens our commitment to protect the green belt. Our framework makes it clear that local authorities must pursue all options, such as brownfield land and increasing density on urban sites, before looking to the green belt. Alongside this, we have announced our intention to consult on a permitted development right to build upwards.

The framework also clarifies how our new method of assessing housing need will work. It will help all communities to have a clear understanding of the homes they need while maintaining the importance of local and neighbourhood plans.

Planning permissions are up. That is good news, but a planning permission is not helpful if it is not turned into a home. That is why our housing delivery test is tackling unjustified delays in housing delivery. Local authorities must be accountable to make sure homes in their area are not only planned but delivered.