Prime Minister David Cameron cracks down on councils over housebuilding

Lauren Fedor
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David Cameron is putting housebuilding plans in motion (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister David Cameron is putting pressure on local councils to green-light plans to build new houses today, as the government publishes its new housing and planning bill.

The Prime Minister will warn local authorities that they must produce local plans for new homes in their area within the next two years – or the national government will step in.

According to government officials, 82 per cent of councils have already published local plans for housebuilding, but just 65 per cent have put those plans in motion.

Cameron will say today that the country “need[s] a national crusade to get homes built and everyone must play their part”, adding: “Councils have a key role to play in this by drawing up their own local plans for new homes by 2017. But if they fail to act, we’ll work with local people to produce a plan for them.”

The government is providing scant details as to how any intervention would work, but ministers are expected to “shortly be bringing forward further details of how best to intervene when councils have failed”. Cameron has vowed to deliver 1m new homes by the end of the decade, including 200,000 so-called starter homes for first-time home-buyers.

At the Conservative Party conference in Manchester last week, Cameron unveiled plans to accelerate the building of “starter homes”, saying they would be part of the wider “affordable housing” programme.

He is expected to expand on that announcement today, introducing a new legal obligation on councils to guarantee the delivery of starter homes in local areas. Cameron will also say that local authorities will be able to bid for a share of a £10m starter homes fund to be used for preparing brownfield sites for redevelopment.

Commenting on today’s announcements, communities secretary Greg Clark said: “During the last five years we’ve brought housebuilding back from the brink, from its lowest levels since the 1920s, by reforming the planning system so we now have over 240,000 homes receiving permission.”

“To maintain that momentum we all need to play our part and I’m determined to ensure that local as well as central government take the steps needed to deliver the homes this country needs,” he added.

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