Cllr David Hodge welcomes the Housing White Paper

Cllr David Hodge

The security that comes from having a safe and decent home is immeasurable, and I therefore strongly welcome the publication of the Government's Housing White Paper.

I am pleased that the Government has listened to the LGA's lobbying in a number of key areas, including proposing greater flexibility in relation to the delivery of starter homes.

Local planning authorities were under-funded by £195 million in 2015/16 and the LGA has long called for local discretion over planning fees to address this. The commitment to allow councils to increase planning fees by up to 20 per cent is very welcome as it will provide additional resources for councils to fulfil their duties and deliver homes.

The commitment to offer support for councils to build through their Housing Revenue Accounts and other ventures is also an important recognition of the role that councils have in addressing the housing shortage.    

The success of the One Public Estate programme has already demonstrated the potential that releasing surplus public land can play in boosting housebuilding, and I therefore strongly welcome the new Land Release Fund.

Additionally, the Housing Infrastructure Fund will provide opportunities for councils to deliver infrastructure-led housing. We will now be seeking to work with the Government on the exact details of the programme to ensure that councils have maximum flexibilities to invest in the infrastructure needed locally to deliver housing.

 Whilst there is much to welcome in the White Paper, the LGA will continue to argue that councils need borrowing freedoms and the ability to retain 100 per cent of Right to Buy receipts if we are to meaningfully play our part in building sufficient numbers of new affordable homes.

I look forward to working with the Government to make a reality of the aspirations laid out in the White Paper - whilst also highlighting the areas in which we believe they could go further - in order to deliver more and better housing for the residents and communities that we serve.

14 February 2017