The government's public land sell-off for new homes is not running to schedule, according to the National Audit Office

 
Helen Cahill
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The land is being sold to help close the supply-demand gap in housing (Source: Getty)

The government's plan to release enough public land to build 160,000 homes is not running on schedule, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has claimed today.

The government has only sold land with capacity for 8,580 homes - and it needs to release the land for 160,000 new homes by 2020.

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The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has, at most, met eight per cent of its commitment to provide land for houses, according to the NAO.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said: "Today's NAO report into the disposal of public land shows that the government's policy for releasing public land to build badly-needed home is still not performing well enough.

"The DCLG agreed to publish guidance on how it will ensure value for money is achieved through the disposals of land by spring 2016. They have simply failed to deliver on this, and as a result there is still no way of knowing whether taxpayers are getting a good deal from the sale of their land.

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Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: "Departments must now dispose of more land in each of the remaining four years than they achieved in any year of the previous land disposals programme."

A DCLG spokesman said: "In the last programme we exceeded our commitment to release enough land for 100,000 homes and are now going even further by releasing enough public sector land for at least 160,000 homes.

"The National Audit Office agree that progress has been made, we have measures in place and will monitor the progress of land development including the number of homes built.

"We are fully committed to accelerating the release of public sector land openly and transparently and expect land for tens of thousands of new homes to be released this year."

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