Telegraph Exactly the same bonkers arguments as Italian and French Eco-fascists parties. Long since debunked. By the way didn’t we leave the eu and immigration increased, because we needed the skilled labour. As we know building on agricultural land increases agricultural productivity and reduces food prices – as all the evidence shows. Systems thinking is no advantage if your a terrible systems modeller.
We need new homes in the right places. We need them to spread prosperity, give the next generation a stake in the future and allow families to grow. We also need to recognise that pressure on housing comes from increased migration and from families breaking up. Solving these interlinked questions needs honesty and rigour.
On housing, we’ll never get the homes we need where we need them if we insist on ever-higher inflexible top-down housing targets. We need to bring people with us by delivering infrastructure first and insisting new homes are built to a higher standard and look more beautiful. We need to break the stranglehold of the identikit cartel of land banking house builders.
But we need to consider the demand side of housing, not just the supply side. People – rightly – recognise that building more homes while doing nothing to bring immigration down is like running up the down escalator.
We’ll never get to where we need to with that approach, and we won’t persuade people to accept more homes if it is being done due to immigration failures. If we can bring immigration down to a sustainable level, we can then protect green spaces for our children and precious agricultural land.
Ms Truss believes there has been a lack of ambition on housing. She wants to replace centralised targets with tax and regulatory incentives for firms to build new homes, which she considers far more likely to encourage companies to act.
“I want to abolish the top-down Whitehall-inspired Stalinist housing targets; I think that’s the wrong way to generate economic growth,” she says. “The best way to generate economic growth is bottom up by creating those incentives for investment through the tax system, simplifying regulations.”
Ms Truss wants to amend Mr Johnson’s Levelling Up Bill to legislate for new low-tax “investment and building zones”. The centralised targets are a “Labour approach”, she says. “It’s not Conservative.”
A few facts
- National targets for Building were equally pursued by labour and conservative governments
- The state no longer sets by LPA targets, it rather sets a method for local planning authorities to calculate need
- The Government that did set national targets – applied through regional planning conferences – was Margret Thatcher’s (and specifically Nicholas Ridly)
- The Levelling Up Bill has nothing to do with housing targets or need- these matters are set in national planning policy
- There are already ‘Opportunity Zones’ on statute book, enterprise Zones, SPZs and LDOs. The problem is Treasury Research showed Thacther style Enterprise Zones didn’t work as they simply caused firms to move and a loss of tax revenue – this is accepted by everybody that has studied the issue
- The policy on targets has already been Tried by Eric Pickles in 2010 – it spectacularly failed leading to local plans radically reducing housebuilding – within a year houses allocated in local plans dropped by 110,000, it helped cause the worst housebuilding slump since 1924 and popped the housing bubble to the extent it helped fuel a global financial crisis, and was reversed in 2017 following an expert review of what went wrong.
- Without any discipline of how much to put in local plans how will ‘supply side reform’ work? Abolishing local plans and the Green Belt maybe – that will be popular in the shires.
- Similarly a proposal by Lord Young in the 1986 Deregulation Bill to abolish structure plans (and hence targets) was so unpopular in the shires it was swiftly dropped.
Of course all of this was well before Truss entered parliament – has she done any research or background reading at all on this issue or is she driven by pure ideological bile rewriting history (Stalin styly) along the way?
Mr Shapps said he believed it would be the Department for Transport’s first choice for cancellation
[Shapps] asked [on LBC] what he would do if he was in charge, he said: “I would cut East West Rail on what’s called two and three, the second and third stages. The charges of it, it would save £3-5 million.” [He meant billion]
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “It will be for the next prime minister and government to make a decision on East-West Rail.
Campaigner William Harrold said “there would be delight in south Cambridgeshire” if the project was brought to an early end.
Mr Harrold co-founded Cambridge Approaches after discovering East-West rail’s preferred route to Cambridge was through south Cambridgeshire.
The group argues there is a stronger business case for the route to approach Cambridge from the north, connecting with the Ely line near Milton.
Mr Harrold said the East-West company had yet to publish a business case to justify the southern route, but also questioned the continuation of the entire scheme.
He said: “At this time with a lot of cost pressures on government spending, they should be asking, is this value for money?
“Without big cities between Oxford to Cambridge, you’ve got to question the amount of passenger traffic it will receive, plus the huge subsidy UK rail receives from the taxpayer.
No Big Cities – well isnt that the point – lets build one. Its the fastest growing part of the country with a unique opportunity to build net zero transport from day one. Radical Capital recently calculated cancelling the Arc would cost the country 50 billion.