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A government task force to overhaul the housing benefit system, the cost of which is increasing by£13m every week,...
A government task force to overhaul the housing benefit system, the cost of which is increasing by £13m every week, has been proposed by the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Addressing a Conservative party fringe meeting in Bournemouth this week, CIH chief executive Christine Laird said a more effective benefits system would combine existing housing benefit, help for low income home owners and family credit.

Both Ms Laird and housing minister David Curry - guest speaker at the CIH fringe meeting - targeted planning issues, discussing ways of meeting the demand for 4.4 million new homes to meet housing demand by 2016.

Both supported environment secretary John Gummer's appeal discouraging building of executive homes on town fringes, with Mr Curry labelling building on greenfield sites as 'The nearest thing to nuclear war that you can ever experience as a councillor.' He said that more than half of the demand could be met using other sites.

Ms Laird said: 'We have to be more interventionist and start building communities rather than concentrating on profit-driven developments.'

In urban areas, Mr Curry suggested that government could seek greater integration of regeneration policies, looking at the total cost of 'regeneration an area as an area' rather than costing individual schemes.

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