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Turley urges Hammond to boost housing delivery in Budget

Words: Huw Morris
House building / iStock: 911674684

Chancellor Philip Hammond should include key reforms for boosting house building in next week’s Budget including a revamped method for calculating housing need, says planning consultancy Turley.

Latest figures show 217,345 homes were delivered in 2016/17, close to the pre-recession peak of 223,534 but still falling far short of government targets.

Turley says refining the standard method for calculating housing need is an urgent priority in tackling the housing crisis.

The company argues that, as applied using the latest 2016 based household projections, the standard method suggests a minimum figure of only 210,000 homes – far fewer than the 300,000 a year promised by the government.

It calls for a calculation of a minimum measure of need as a proportion of current housing stock of an area. This, says Turley, would resolve some of the “anomalous results” produced by the standard method.

The government should also set expectations for ambitious plans and delivery for city regions and growth corridors. This would go beyond a mere “minimum” position as suggested by the standard method for calculating housing need.

Under such arrangements, growth areas would be required to demonstrate through their local and joint spatial plans how they are going beyond planning for the minimum level of need.

A financial payment or “premium” for local authorities that plan significantly above minimum levels of need “might incentivise a more positive approach to planning and provide funding support for infrastructure, placemaking and sustainability investments”, says the consultant. This could be structured as a one-off premium associated with planning for set thresholds above a minimum figure.

Alternatively, the chancellor could introduce a specific grant to boost housing delivery to supplement the local government financial settlement. This could be linked to the number of homes completed or granted planning permission in the preceding year.

Turley also calls for stamp duty tax reforms including the introduction of incentives for “downsizing” households, especially for older people. This might incentivise older people to move, thereby reducing under-occupation while increasing the availability of larger homes for families.

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