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We all know the importance of housing because we all do surgeries and have families coming to see us, telling us their personal stories about the impact that the current housing market has on them. We need to build more homes. When I talk to people who develop and build homes, they still complain about the length of time it takes to go through the planning process. The Government really need to look at that.
We need to incentivise those who get planning permission to develop. I am not sure whether I would wholly agree with a penal tax system, but some kind of stick and carrot is needed to give people an incentive to get on and develop. When I drive around Poole, I see sites that have been sitting there for several years. One would think that if there were tax advantages to developing or tax penalties, at a modest level that might just tip those sites into being developed.
We need to be more ambitious with our plans for helping young people to buy. The Help to Buy scheme is not ambitious enough, nor is the help to buy ISA. Bearing in mind the billions that we poured into the banks, it is a moral, social issue to do our best to get more people buying their own home, if it is right for them and they cannot afford it. We also need to understand that building is not the only solution. Managing the housing stock is very important. Local authorities talk about voids—these are empty properties—and we ought to be doing rather more to assist local authorities in making sure that the housing stock is being fully and efficiently used.