The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has claimed that Michael Gove is giving in to the Conservative backbenchers in ending mandatory housing targets. The targets, which are monitored through the Housing Delivery Test (HDT), not only help to ensure enough homes are built when compared to need but also encourages councils to allocate sites which can more easily be delivered.
Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Housing and Planning Policy at the National Federation of Builders and House Builders Association (HBA), said:
“We were led to believe that Mr Gove was appointed to ensure Robert Jenrick’s ambitious planning reforms were not lost, yet his first move was to water them down so much that disgruntled Conservative MPs were given a platform to further derail vital change.
Housing targets were brought in to ensure that councils did not condemn another generation to housing misery but they also helped smaller builders too by putting an emphasis on deliverable supply and not simply high volume sites which do not always come to fruition in a timely manner – exampled by the 400,000 unbuilt permissions. Removing targets, which ambitious councils have doubled and quadrupled without Government intervention, harms aspiring homeowners, small businesses, placemaking and shows that levelling up is a phrase, not a reality.
The Government appears to have lost its vision for homeownership and is now withdrawn to helping protect backbench MPs’ electoral chances at the next election. We’ll be increasing our work with Labour, trying to convince them that we need a small site register, a medium sized site definition of between 10 and 50 homes and housing need assessments that take advantage of modern technology to ensure data is robust, detailed and locally driven.
The last two years have been very difficult for housebuilders. Eleven new taxes and levies, misuse of data on unbuilt permissions, watered down planning reform, a worsening planning process and incoherent proposals such as brownfield-first, protecting landscapes and removing negotiable housing taxes without bringing any more land forward. By ending mandatory housing targets, the Government has signalled an end to its housing ambitions and placed backbench MPs’ careers before the national interest. The housing crisis is going to get worse.”