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Public Accounts Committee launches planning and housing inquiry

Words: Huw Morris
Housebuilding / iStock-889654612

MPs are set to hold the government to account over its changes to the planning system and probe its target to build 300,000 homes a year.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee has opened an inquiry into planning and the broken housing market.

The move follows a recent National Audit Office (NAO) investigation which found “serious flaws” in the government’s planning system and concluded that it cannot demonstrate that it is meeting housing demand effectively.

Between 2005/06 and 2017/18, an average of 177,000 new homes were built each year. The NAO found that the government would need to oversee a 69 per cent increase in the average number of new homes built since 2005/06 to meet its ambition.

The committee said this is a challenge because the number of new homes being built each year has never exceeded 224,000 in the past decade. The MPs also noted that only 44 per cent of local authorities had an up-to-date local plan by December 2018.

At the end of April they will question officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on how the department will achieve its ambition for 300,000 new homes a year from the mid-2020s. The committee will probe local authority spending on planning and their processes for dealing with planning applications.

Long-term funding for infrastructure to support new homes will also be investigated.

Image credit | iStock