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The need for a market-based solution to the housing crisis

A reduction or exemption from stamp duty for older people seeking to 'downsize' would be far more beneficial than a host of planning reforms.

Article originally published by The Telegraph. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

Just under two years ago, the Government embarked on a planning revolution aimed at ramping up the number of homes being built. Ministers envisaged a back-to-first-principles approach, introducing a zonal regime of the type operated in many European countries.

It was always a policy unlikely to find favour with Tory voters in areas where development could be forced upon them – and so it proved. The Chesham and Amersham by-election saw the seat fall to the Lib Dems largely because of concern over planning reforms as well as HS2. The backlash was duly noted and the proposals ditched. Instead, more realistic reforms are contained in the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, the first spawned by Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech.

Far from imposing decisions on local areas, they are to be given a direct say over what happens, with design codes introduced to ensure proposed developments are suitable. This is a significant watering down of original plans and rightly so. As Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Minister, put it: “People, when it comes to housing development, should be partners. It shouldn’t be a case that we impose.”

But it also means that the Government is likely to fall short of its target to build 300,000 new homes a year, an ambition motivated by the difficulties young people in particular have in getting on the housing ladder, notably in London and the South East. To that end, the Government needs to free up the market. For instance, a reduction or exemption from stamp duty for older people seeking to “downsize” would be far more beneficial to generating movement and encouraging building than a host of planning reforms.


This article was written by Telegraph View from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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    Article originally published by The Telegraph. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

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