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NFB: Almost a third of English councils are failing to tackle the housing crisis

The Government has released its 2020/21 Housing Delivery Test (HDT) results, which shows that a third of local authorities are failing to address the housing crisis.

The results show that 93 local planning authorities (LPA) delivered less than 95% of the homes they need. This means they are subject to penalties to encourage development.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “Since the carrot of meeting housing need themselves is not enticing enough for local planners and councillors, the Government’s stick of penalties and buffers is clearly required. However, after four years of the Housing Delivery Test, things are clearly not working and therefore the need for planning reform is stronger than ever.”

51 LPA’s delivered less than 75% of their housing need, which means they will face the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ penalty. 19 delivered between 75% and 85% and must add a buffer of 20% to their overall housing targets. 23 must produce action plans to show how they will meet their 100% target.

The HDT measures the minimum supply targets that councils must achieve, and 44 local authorities recognise the need to tackle historical under delivery and plan for growth, so are planning to deliver more than 200% of their housing need.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) recognises the challenges local planning authorities face in meeting the demand for housing but remains concerned that so many councils are missing their targets, leaving us a shortfall of more than 149,000 new homes.

As local developers, NFB members would have preferred local authorities be in control of their own housing destiny but, since many are failing in their duty to meet housing demand and underestimating housing need, we welcome the blunt instrument that the Government is wielding.

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the House Builders Association (HBA), said: “The Levelling Up white paper is being championed as a solution to regional inequality in the UK but unless it contains the planning reforms that were proposed in the Planning for the Future white paper, so that it enables homes where homes are most unaffordable and investment in regions with decades of neglect but lots of housing, it will end up another two word slogan that fails to understand the regional challenges we actually face.”

Housing Delivery Test: 2021 Measurement

 South West East MidlandsSouth EastEast EnglandNorth EastYorkshire & HumberNorth WestWest MidlandsLondon
No. of LPAs374462441320383034
Action Plan541311205
Buffer215210305
Presumption43201103334
No. of LPAs subject to penalties1182616248314
% failed to meet minimum housing targets29.7%18.2%41.9%36.4%15.4%20%21.1%10%41.2%

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