Government requires mandatory housebuilding targets

Early last week our Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) set out a piece in their magazine which is here and it begins with the headline Government to remove mandatory housebuilding targets and the first couple of sentences are

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has dropped plans to impose mandatory housebuilding targets on local councils to avoid a rebellion by Conservative members of Parliament. In a letter to MPs on Monday, communities secretary Michael Gove said the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill would be amended to abolish mandatory housebuilding targets.

The day after this document was published during the Prime Minister Questions Keir Starmer raised the theme here and it was very interesting to read the response from the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak

KS: The Prime Minister has forgotten, but last week I offered him Labour votes to pass these housing targets, because this is bigger than politics. A former Housing Secretary on the Conservative Benches said that scrapping mandatory targets would be

“a colossal failure of political leadership.”

Those were his words. No wonder he does not want to fight the next election. The author of the manifesto on which Conservative Members all stood said that this would cut building by 40%, perhaps even more. Why would the Prime Minister rather cripple house building than work with us to get those targets through?

RS: We are not going to work with the Labour party on housing. You know why, Mr Speaker? We will have a look at Labour’s record on housing. In London, the former Conservative Mayor, in five years, built 60,000 affordable homes. The current Labour Mayor—he has built half of that amount. In Wales, we want to build 12,000 homes. What is Labour delivering? Half of that, Mr Speaker. The Labour party talks, the Conservatives deliver.

On the following day the Conservative MP for Lichfield who used to be based in Brighton many years ago, Michael Fabricant stated the following which did initially respond to houses but then went much further and the response from Oliver Dowden who is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was very disappointing

MF: The city of Lichfield is currently experiencing a huge amount of house building, which happens in other parts of the country too, so I welcome the Government’s decision that the number of houses to be built should be advisory not mandatory. Along with those houses, there is a need for hospitals, schools and leisure centres. What does the Cabinet Office do to co-ordinate all those different Government Departments to ensure that those facilities are available for the extra people who will move into the area?

OD: My hon. Friend rightly highlights the need to ensure that infrastructure goes with development. Clearly, that is led by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, but the Cabinet Office continues to monitor progress against the agreed goals of that Department and to work closely with it.

We clearly need to be able to persuade the Government to focus on both Houses and Hospitals for our Nation so that there are sufficient facilities for our communities.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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