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RTPI reacts to Shadow Chancellor housing commitment

22 November 2013

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP gave a major speech outlining Lthe party’s policy towards housebuilding which included a pledge that a Labour government would build 200,000 new houses including incentives for New Town and Garden Cities.

Dr Peter Geraghty, President of the RTPI, said:  “The RTPI welcomes Labour’s focus on housing, and the Shadow Chancellor’s speech echoes a number of recommendations in our recent report on housing Delivering Large Scale Housing. The unanswered questions are where and how the new housing will be built and where people will work.

In many cases transport investment makes housing possible and we need to see a much more integrated approach to policy making if we are to meet the UK’s housing shortfall. We therefore welcome the Shadow Chancellor’s recognition of the importance of infrastructure in delivering successful development. The key role that transport infrastructure investment in particular plays in determining where housing can be built is hugely underestimated.”

The Shadow Chancellor also laid out in detail the work that the independent Lyons Commission would examine:

  • How they can get much more residential land to market;
  • What flexibilities could be granted to local authorities to they can build more affordable homes;
  • How they can ensure that communities that want to expand but do not have the land on which to grant planning permission can do so;
  • Whether the current planning gain system is fit for purpose;
  • And whether land made available for development is being land-banked in a damaging way and how this can be prevented.

With the Lyons Commission, Labour will also examine whether and how to give new town development corporations the right to:

  • keep increased revenue from business rates as a revenue stream to finance investment - and to use the increased value of land to generate further capital for investment;
  • acquire and assemble land;
  • and plan and develop the infrastructure needed, bringing together the agencies and utilities who will need to participate in that process to deliver it.

The text of the speech can be read here.