Debate on the British housebuilding industry - House of Commons, 5 September 2019

Vital local services provided by councils face a funding gap of more than £5 billion next year. Councils urgently need some certainty about how local services will be funded.

Key messages

  • Councils have a key role to play in solving the housing crisis. The last time we built at least 250,000 homes a year, councils delivered more than 40 per cent of them.
  • It is positive that the Government listened to councils and scrapped the housing borrowing cap. This could lead to up to 10,000 new homes a year.
  • The latest figures show that councils in England directly built 2,560 homes in 2018/19 - the highest since 1992/3. This risks being undermined without reform of the Right to Buy scheme.
  • New housing developments must be accompanied by the right infrastructure to support and sustain communities. This should include investment in local transport facilities, green spaces and other amenities. Councils want to work with housebuilders to ensure adequate infrastructure is in place for new homes.
  • More than a million people are currently on council housing waiting lists. It is essential that the Right to Buy is reformed so that for every one of these homes sold, a social rented home is built to house a family.
  • There is an important role for Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) in reaching national housebuilding targets. Initial investment must be made by the Government to stimulate demand in new types of home at scale.
  • Planning is not a barrier to building. Councils are approving nine in ten planning applications and granted permission for 361,800 homes in the year to 31 March 2019. Housebuilders currently have 423,000 homes with permission that they are still to build.ii
  • With well-resourced planning departments, and the flexibility to deliver homes at scale, councils can do much more to meet housing demand. Our #CouncilsCan campaign is calling on the Government to give local authorities the funding and flexibilities to play a full role in housing provision.

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Debate on the British housebuilding industry - House of Commons, 5 September 2019