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Government's planning changes show they're not serious about tackling housing crisis. "Don’t blame councils your failure to act on new homes" say Newcastle Liberal Democrats

August 5, 2020 10:05 AM

"The announcement of change England's planning laws to allow new homes and hospitals to be granted automatic permission to be built reveals that once again Ministers are not serious about solving the housing crisis. It is not the lack of planning permission that prevents new, genuinely affordable, homes being built, but this Government's refusal to properly invest in social housing," says Tim Farron MP.

"Across the country thousands are on housing waiting lists - but with councils approving nine out of ten planning applications, it is clear that these changes announced today will not help those on waiting lists or those saving to buy a home.

"Rather than tinkering with planning laws, what Robert Jenrick should be doing is unveiling a huge housebuilding program of social homes for rent. We have already lost thousands of social rented homes as a result of the Government's permitted developed changes to date.

"The Liberal Democrats want to see 100,000 new social homes to be built every year, as well as giving local authorities the ability to suspend the right to buy in their own areas, so that we can finally start tackling the crisis that's crippling the UK's housing market."

"Don't blame councils for Government's failure to act on new homes," says Newcastle Liberal Democrats ead on development and regeneration matters, Cllr Robin Ashby

"The Prime Minister has demanded that we "build, build, build" our way out of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

"He echoes the call of Liberal Democrats that investing in homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure must be done properly. But he ignores local government who should be playing a leading role in delivering this much-needed investment in our communities.

"When will the Tory government wake up to the fact that councils aren't the problem with getting homes built nor is the planning system?

"How many times do Ministers have to be told that councils approve nine out of 10 planning applications? The Government conveniently forgets the thousands of planning applications sitting there without a brick being laid, the hundreds of thousands of homes that lie unbuilt - the estimate is as many a million approved but unactioned plans.

"Councils need powers to force developers to build these out. Don't demonise them and point the finger again at local government, blaming them. We don't need rhetoric - we need partnership."