The chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss’s view on the housing crisis is “absolute twaddle”, according to the chair of the Local Government Association.
In an exchange on Twitter last night, Lord Porter (Con) responded strongly to a claim by Ms Truss that flaws in the current planning system are slowing down development.
Her comments came in a re-tweet of an Politics Home article by Rico Wojtulewicz, who is the senior policy advisor for the House Builders Association (HBA) and was an unsuccessful Conservative candidate in last month’s election at Brighton & Hove City Council.
Mr Wojtulewicz argued that the main barriers to development are planning processes that are “expensive, slow and unfit for purpose”, citing a focus in local plans on “large and slow-to-deliver sites, requiring heavy infrastructure investment to be made uncontroversial”.
Mr Wojtulewicz also said councils had rejected the proposal of a small sites register to boost smaller developments, while local government had successfully lobbied to reduce a proposed 20% requirement for these sites in local plans to 10%.
Ms Truss re-tweeted the article and commented: “Spot on. We need a flexible, simpler planning system that enables small sites to be developed and doesn’t tie up builders in red-tape.”
Lord Porter responded by tweeting: “Absolute twaddle. The housing crisis is caused by treasury and the banks not planning policy. There are over 470,000 live planning permissions on the books already. We need more people to be able to access cash, not bits of land with an increased value.”
Replying to Lord Porter’s tweet this morning, Ms Truss wrote: ”Disagree. Countries like Germany with a zonal planning system have seen far more houses build and that makes them more affordable. Will be saying more about this at @resfoundation on Thursday.”
Last month Ms Truss spoke at the Local Government Association where she advocated greater devolution to local government.
Absololute twaddle. The housing crisis is caused by treasury and the banks not planning policy. There are over 470,000 live planning permissions on the books already. We need more people to be able to access cash, not bits of land with an increased value. https://t.co/5dBW0p6NaE— Gary Porter (@garyportercbe) June 4, 2019