I wholeheartedly welcome news that Ed Miliband will tomorrow say Labour would penalise developers who refuse to build on land with planning permission.
There are 210,000 potential homes in London with planning consent but which aren’t being built, and estimates put the figure at 400,000 across the country. Tories like Boris Johnson blame affordable housing requirements for making these schemes unviable, but even the Mayor’s own report fails to identify this as a reason for delay. The real reason is that developers can bank even bigger profits by sitting on land than by building on it.
I have raised this issue consistently, pointing out that getting these schemes moving is an easy win that could see hundreds of thousands of homes being built.
That’s why I welcome moves by Labour to consider “giving local authorities in England ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ powers over developers, including introducing fees or buying back undeveloped land”, BBC reports. At a speech at tomorrow’s National Policy Forum, which I am attending as a CLP rep, Miliband will criticise developers for hoarding land in the hope of maximising value.
Labour housing policy is really shaping up. Taken with recent announcements on shifting spending back to bricks-and-mortar from current high levels of housing benefit, the party will enter 2015 with an ambitious yet realistic plan to solve the housing crisis.