Pressure mounts on chancellor to give local councils more powers to build

With Philip Hammond set to deliver his budget this Wednesday, there are fresh calls for the chancellor to adopt measures which provide local authorities with more powers and freedom to accelerate housebuilding.

The latest request comes from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) chief executive Trudi Elliott who has called on the government to intervene in the land market and implement “major proposals” as anything less will not address the “crisis”.

In a letter to Hammond, Elliott has called for a more diverse housebuilding sector than the current situation where more than half of new homes are built by just eight companies, while only 12% come from small builders. 

A diverse housebuilding sector is just one recommendation of a three-fold agenda proposed by the RTPI to fix housing shortages. Intervention in the land market is also highlighted in the letter with the government being asked to provide support and powers for capturing land value uplift to fund infrastructure projects. Elliot claims more funding will be needed for upfront infrastructure and affordable housing. The RTPI says the government should also reform compulsory purchase orders to make them easier to introduce, and to enable purchase at closer to existing use value.

Finally, a continued effort towards making information on land more transparent is deemed necessary for people to make good decisions about it, whether that is developers identifying new sites for houses or local authorities engaging in strategic planning. 

Ending her letter to the chancellor, Elliot said: “We hope to see major proposals in the budget - anything less will not be enough to address this crisis.”

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