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Labours Plan For British Cities To Grow - Allow Them To Borrow More Money

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Let British cities grow, says Labour

Manchester-city-centre-006.jpg

Party says cap on council borrowing should be lifted – and that delays in release of land is single biggest cause of Britain's housing crisis

Existing towns and cities should be expanded and the cap on some councils' borrowing lifted to allow more homes to be built, according to the man responsible for overhauling Labour's housing policy to ease the chronic shortage.

Sir Michael Lyons told the Guardian he had identified protracted delays in the release of land as the single biggest cause of Britain's housing crisis.

He is minded to recommend a new generation of "urban extensions", modelled on the postwar new-town expansion, insisting that while communities should have a say in planning, they cannot veto new homes in a time of severe shortage. The expansion of current conurbations, capable of using existing infrastructure, could be built as quickly as new towns, and lead to tens of thousands of new homes, contributing to a target of 200,000 new dwellings a year by 2020.

With his inquiry team reaching its first conclusions, which are due to be unveiled in detail in September, he told the Guardian: "The central issue is how do we release more land in this country – a country that has developed urban containment to ritualistic proportions and in a country that devotes more land to golf courses than it does to homes. It is a national problem that we collectively have to sort out.

"This belief in urban containment is rooted in a Victorian view of cities that they should not grow, they should not spread and they are full of problems when most of us would acknowledge that the future of the UK economy depends to a large part on the dynamism and growth of the cities."

The housing review is one of the five big policy decisions awaiting Labour, including funding of the NHS, a growth review led by Lord Adonis, the future structure of railways and its overall fiscal stance. Lyons, a former chairman of the BBC Trust and an economist, spent much of his career running local authorities.

Lyons insisted the demand for more housing was legitimate. "We are not serving our children and grandchildren well," he said. "We are not leaving them an adequate legacy of homes. Every community has a right to a voice about where new development takes place and what form it takes. What they cannot have is a right to a prohibition on the building of homes. That is simply intolerable in the common interest."

He said he wanted councils to build more homes so long as they were not competing with private developers and they should be freed from current constraints on borrowing to do so. "In England there is a specific cap on the council Housing Revenue Account (HRA). The overwhelming weight of the evidence that has come to us from public and private bodies, says 'for goodness sake lift the HRA cap'."

Yet more money to be gambled on property....

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and theres me thinking that housing associations, with their private backing and hugely talented enormously paid executives were the panacea to low cost housing.

I guess thats not the case any more...we have simply run out of talented enormously paid executives who have retired whilst working.

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Letting Councils borrow more against a sensible ratio of their future housing income is pretty sensible - borrowing caps are absurdly tight at the moment, it would mean government investment in something that is useful (unlike HTB), the Germans do it to no great harm and it has the support of people you'd normally place firmly on the right (Westminster Council, Martin Wolf, Paul Cheshire at the LSE)

The big change flagged by this article are urban extensions (meaning addressing greenbelt) and taking on landowners over land prices and control.

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Letting Councils borrow more against a sensible ratio of their future housing income is pretty sensible - borrowing caps are absurdly tight at the moment, it would mean government investment in something that is useful (unlike HTB), the Germans do it to no great harm and it has the support of people you'd normally place firmly on the right (Westminster Council, Martin Wolf, Paul Cheshire at the LSE)

The big change flagged by this article are urban extensions (meaning addressing greenbelt) and taking on landowners over land prices and control.

I agree, seems like labour are moving in the right direction. If only they would admit prices are a problem too. Still they are infinitely preferable to the other parties that think prices are too low, no council houses should be built and NIMBY's can never be opposed.

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I think the main topic of that news was not really about borrowing more money but actually about releasing more building land around towns and cities. And I think they hit the nail on the head! Like in this parts...

---------------

protracted delays in the release of land as the single biggest cause of Britain's housing crisis.

He is minded to recommend a new generation of "urban extensions", modelled on the postwar new-town expansion, insisting that while communities should have a say in planning, they cannot veto new homes in a time of severe shortage. The expansion of current conurbations, capable of using existing infrastructure, could be built as quickly as new towns, and lead to tens of thousands of new homes, contributing to a target of 200,000 new dwellings a year by 2020.

With his inquiry team reaching its first conclusions, which are due to be unveiled in detail in September, he told the Guardian: "The central issue is how do we release more land in this country – a country that has developed urban containment to ritualistic proportions and in a country that devotes more land to golf courses than it does to homes. It is a national problem that we collectively have to sort out.

"This belief in urban containment is rooted in a Victorian view of cities that they should not grow, they should not spread and they are full of problems when most of us would acknowledge that the future of the UK economy depends to a large part on the dynamism and growth of the cities."

...

Lyons insisted the demand for more housing was legitimate. "We are not serving our children and grandchildren well," he said. "We are not leaving them an adequate legacy of homes. Every community has a right to a voice about where new development takes place and what form it takes. What they cannot have is a right to a prohibition on the building of homes. That is simply intolerable in the common interest."

.........................

VERY GOOD!

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Existing towns and cities should be expanded and the cap on some councils' borrowing lifted to allow more homes to be built, according to the man responsible for overhauling Labour's housing policy to ease the chronic shortage.

Spot on.

Should have been doing this for the last 40 years.

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The government should make it clear that they expect cities to seize land recompensing the owners at unimproved costs and then to grant planning permission and auction it off to the builders.

That way little would be required in terms of borrowing and local taxes could be reduced.

This is the way Hong Kong works.

Sure, but borrowing is the economy.

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Spot on.

Should have been doing this for the last 40 years.

No! What they should have been doing for the past 40 years is buying the landowners land at the going rate without planning permission. Then applying planning permission to build the required numbers of council houses which would be rented to the people at a fair and reasonable rent. This would be a win for the people and a win for the councils financially. The vast majority would be better off as a result. But oh no! We can't take land off the already wealthy like that. Even Labour wouldn't consider it, it seems. Might even be accused of being a commie for such suggestions.

Edited by Sine270

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I agree, seems like labour are moving in the right direction. If only they would admit prices are a problem too. Still they are infinitely preferable to the other parties that think prices are too low, no council houses should be built and NIMBY's can never be opposed.

+1, a small step in the right direction.

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