LGA responds to Government housing announcement

Further expanding permitted development rights risks creating poor quality residential environments that negatively impact people’s health and wellbeing.

Commenting on the Government’s announcement of an expansion of permitted development rights and to build one million new homes, Cllr Shaun Davies, Chair of the Local Government Association said

“There is no doubt that we need more homes as well as to reinvigorate our high streets and town centres. However, premises such as offices, barns, and shops are not always suitable for housing.

“Further expanding permitted development rights risks creating poor quality residential environments that negatively impact people’s health and wellbeing, as well as a lack of affordable housing or suitable infrastructure.  

“Councils support the Government’s ambition for the right homes in the right areas, which can have significant wider benefits for people and communities, and prevent future public service challenges and costs.

“To deliver these benefits, the Government should support our six-point plan, which would lead to a generational step-change in council housebuilding and give local government the powers and funding to deliver thousands of social homes a year.”

Notes to editors

The LGA is calling for the Government to go further and faster in order for councils to be able to properly resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes by implementing a six-point plan for social housing.

  1. Roll-out five-year local housing deals to all areas of the country that want them by 2025 – combining funding from multiple national housing programmes into a single pot. This will provide the funding, flexibility, certainty and confidence to stimulate housing supply, and will remove national restrictions which stymie innovation and delivery.
  2. Government support to set up a new national council housebuilding delivery taskforce, bringing together a team of experts to provide additional capacity and improvement support for housing delivery teams within councils and their partners.
  3. Continued access to preferential borrowing rates through the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB), introduced in the Spring Budget, to support the delivery of social housing and local authorities borrowing for Housing Revenue Accounts.
  4. Further reform to Right to Buy which includes allowing councils to retain 100 per cent of receipts on a permanent basis; flexibility to combine Right to Buy receipts with other government grants; the ability to set the size of discounts locally; and the ability to recycle a greater proportion of receipts into building replacement homes paying off housing debt.
  5. Review and increase where needed the grant levels per home through the Affordable Homes Programme, as inflationary pressures have caused the cost of building new homes to rise, leaving councils needing grant funding to fund a larger proportion of a new build homes than before.
  6. Certainty on future rents, to enable councils to invest. Government must commit to a minimum 10-year rent deal for council landlords to allow a longer period of annual rent increases and long-term certainty.