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Tories pledge ‘nation of housebuilders’

If the Conservative Party wins the next general election, it will aim to create a “nation of housebuilders”, Grant Shapps has said.
Shapps, the Shadow Housing Minister made the comments during a speech at the party’s annual conference in Manchester.

“We will give people something in return for development,” he said. “When a community builds more homes, we’ll match pound-for-pound the extra money that the area gets through council tax for six years.”

Local Housing Trusts would be able to help rural villages expand by 10 per cent over a 10-year period under a Conservative government.

Shapps also accused the Labour Government of failing to build more homes during its tenure. “12 years in power; 10 Housing Acts of Parliament; nine Housing Ministers and the results are fewer homes built than at any time since the 2nd World War.”

The controversial Home Information Packs for house purchasers would be scrapped under a Tory government, he said.

The Labour Government introduced Hips in 2007 to provide would-be-buyers with more information on property.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, which represents developers, investors and advisers, said: “Three or four reiterated announcements do not make a radical housing policy, but plans to incentivise local communities show that a welcome amount of thought has gone into localism proposals.

“Making this work will mean up-to-date local plans, properly resourced local planning departments and councillors taking planning decisions based on merit rather than on keeping themselves in office.

“Shapps has committed to being pro-development, and while we’re not proposing to pave over Great Britain, it’s clear that we do need to kickstart construction if we’re to house people, promote new business and re-employ the many thousands left jobless by the property crash.

“Allowing village expansion of 10% also makes sense in that it makes use of existing infrastructure. It’s something the French do with much success and the addition of a few properties to a village can help keeps a place’s vitality and provide funding for schools, post offices or any new amenities under the Tory plans.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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