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Housing and tax reforms could promote rural affordable homes

Words: Huw Morris
Rural housing

Changes to the tax system and housing reforms would encourage more landowners to release land for affordable homes in rural areas, say campaigners.

Landowners are keen to ensure prospective tenants grew up in the area or work for a local employer but have little control over who will live in homes, said the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

This is a disincentive for landowners to put forward rural exception sites and a major factor behind residents’ objections to planning applications.

The CPRE suggests that landowners should have the power to ensure that their land will benefit people with strong links to the community, with council waiting lists reformed to prioritise local tenants. Landowners should pay reduced tax on profits from providing affordable housing and be allowed to offset losses against other taxable income.

Just 8 per cent of rural housing is classed as affordable compared to 20 per cent in urban areas.

On Solid Ground: Encouraging landowners to invest in rural affordable housing is available here.