Planning system isn’t to blame – it’s developers and banks

The government’s proposed changes to the planning system, including a particularly worrying assault on affordable housing, wrongly place the blame for low construction figures on the planning system. In fact, much of the blame lies with developers and the banks. A study by the Local Government Association released today found there are 400,000 homes across the country with planning permission that have either not been started or are stalled. There are 93,000 in London alone, although the real figure will be much higher. Developers have the planning permission, they’re just not building.

This plan really is not up to the scale of the challenge. In response, I released the following statement:

press office: 020 7983 4952

news release
immediate release

Nicky Gavron AM: “Londoners suffer as government blames everybody else for their economic mess”

In response to the government’s changes to the planning system, Labour’s City Hall Housing and Planning spokesperson, Nicky Gavron, said:

“Londoners are suffering as the government blames everybody else for their economic mess. The economy is not flat-lining because of the planning system or Section 106 agreements for much needed affordable housing, it is flat-lining because of the lack of confidence and demand, caused by the government’s failing economic plan.

“In London alone, there are 93,000 houses with planning permission which haven’t been started or been stalled by developers, although the real figure will be much higher. These are not being built because banks aren’t lending to developers, and because house builders want to limit supply to push up prices and increase their profits. The culprits are the big house-builders who ‘land-bank’ – sitting on land without building – and the big banks who ‘don’t bank’ – not providing mortgages to people.”

“Since May 2010 the government has cut London’s affordable housing budget by 70% and introduced sky-high rents for new ‘affordable’ homes. Now they are saying developers do not even need to deliver these. Their proposals are not a viable plan for growth; they are part of an ideological attack on affordable housing and will exacerbate London’s housing crisis.

“On the mayor’s watch affordable housing starts in London have fallen to their lowest level for a decade. The mayor and government desperately need to adopt a plan for jobs and growth.

“While the government are busy blaming everybody but themselves, Londoners are suffering. There is an enormous need for decent low-cost rented housing. Yet the reality is that home ownership is a distant dream for many. Private sector rents are soaring, 200,000 families now live in overcrowded housing and rough sleeping are rising rapidly after years of decline.”


Nicky Gavron is a Labour London-wide Assembly Member and is Labour’s City Hall Planning spokesperson.

Today’s report from the Local Government Association details the 400,000 houses that have planning permission that are yet to be built across the country and the 93,000 in London, see here:


About nickygavron

Former Deputy Mayor of London. London Assembly Member, Chair of Planning Committee, and GLA Labour Spokesperson for Planning. NPF Member.
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2 Responses to Planning system isn’t to blame – it’s developers and banks

  1. Pingback: We should build in our cities, not on our natural heritage | Nicky Gavron AM

  2. Pingback: Miliband roadmap for house building will unlock thousands of London’s land banked homes | Nicky Gavron AM

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