Theresa May tells developers to 'do their duty' and build more homes

Posted On: 
5th March 2018

Theresa May will today urge developers to "do their duty to Britain" as part of government efforts to increase housing supply.

Workers at a construction site in Ashington, Northumberland
Credit: 
PA

Firms who have a track record of not building homes quickly could be refused planning permission in future, the Prime Minister will say. 

And she will also take aim at "perverse" bonus practices that discourage companies from building affordable housing. 

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But the Tory leader will try to head off dissent from her own backbenchers by saying councils can only change Green Belt boundaries if they have explored "every other reasonable option".

Labour called the measures "feeble" and said they were simply repeating proposals that had first been announced last February. 

At a speech in London today, Mrs May will describe the housing crisis as "one of the biggest barriers to social mobility we face today", with millions who would ordinarily expect to buy a home unable to do so. 

She will draw on her own experience of getting on the housing ladder, saying: "I still vividly remember the first home I shared with my husband, Philip.

"Not only our pictures on the walls and our books on the shelves, but the security that came from knowing we couldn’t be asked to move on at short notice.

“And because we had that security, because we had a place to go back to, it was that much easier to play an active role in our community. To share in the common purpose of a free society.”

“That is what this country should be about – not just having a roof over your head but having a stake in your community and its future.”

PLANNING PERMISSION

While she will praise David Cameron for working to get more planning permissions granted, Mrs May will say more needs to be done to speed up the actual construction of homes.

“I expect developers to do their duty to Britain and build the homes our country needs," she will say. 

"With the major overhaul being published today, we’re giving councils and developers the backing they need to get more homes built more quickly.

"The reforms driven forward under our last Prime Minister led to a great and welcome increase in the number of planning permissions granted. But we did not see a corresponding rise in the number of homes being built.” 

Under reforms set out in the Housing White paper the Government will introduce measures to fast-track permissions, use land more efficiently and give local people more control over planning in their area with specially tailored local plans. 

She will also today set out plans to let councils prioritise affordable homes for key workers such as nurses and teachers in their planning decisions.

'NONSENSE'

But the plans came under fire from the Tory head of the Local Government Association, Lord Porter, who urged the Communities department to fight back against the Treasury and demand more money for housebuilding.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey also piled in, saying: "The Prime Minister should be embarrassed to be fronting up these feeble measures first announced a year ago.

"After eight years of failure on housing it's clear her Government has got no plan to fix the housing crisis.

"Since 2010, home-ownership has fallen to a 30-year low, rough sleeping has more than doubled, and deep cuts to housing investment have led to the lowest number of new social rented homes built since records began."