Hammond’s ‘Tax on Age’ will Fall Hardest on Old and Asset Poor – Tax Assets Instead

Like the Demantia Tax another daft idea


Philip Hammond is planning a Budget raid on older workers to pay for tax breaks for younger people as he battles to save his job. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is understood to be examining ways to link tax to age to promote “intergenerational fairness” in next month’s Budget.

Tax breaks would be offered to workers in their 20s and 30s, paid for by cutting reliefs for older and better off workers.

One Whitehall source said the Budget, to be unveiled on November 22, would be a “bold” attempt to “restack the deck for the next generation”.

The policy, already dubbed a “tax on age”, will be controversial because it will target voters who are more likely to vote Conservative. The Tories’ disastrous election result in June was blamed on a poorly-thought through “dementia tax”.

Workers in their 20s and 30s need a tax break to pay for student debt – which of course means they cant save in many cases for a deposit on a home.  But higher marginal rates for workers in their 50s and 60s is not a good idea.  Large amounts of tax revenues come from higher paid and highly experienced workers in this age bracket.  Who in many cases can work in any country that will take them.  Therefore the tax take drop will be disproportionate.   Also it will fall hardest on the old and asset poor, particularly that bracket of post boomers in their 40s who could not save for a deposit on a home, are asset poor, and with higher rates going into their 50s might never do so.  Such a policy would seem to be a precision guided weapon on the swing voters the tories need to attract.

It, as ever, it is much better to tax what cant move, fixed wealth and assets such as land.  A programme which could be said, at least partially, to be in the manifesto with its promise for the state to take unearned uplifts in land value and would chime perfectly with the governments agenda of housebuilding.  A tax of assets with the take from development land paying for infrastructure  – the programme of the new National Infrastructure assessment just announced by the NIC, plus New Towns Garden Cities to house the 700,000+ overspill from London plus 500,000+ from Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and other Growth Towns (which modelling shows could add as much as 2 1/2-4% to GDP), and a tax on existing houses paying for a tax break to the young – providing and its a big qualifier they only get the relief if they pay down debt or save for a deposit on a house, would be a bold move politically impossible to resist.  It would also massively increase capital formation in the UK, ringfencing it to UK projects (construction and housebuilding) which banks couldn’t take overseas – just what we need in Brexit Cliff uncertain times.


Why May and Khan are in a ‘War of Words’ over Housing

Evening Standard – 13/10/2017 Oddly not on website.  Briefing from No 10 not city Hall.  Thanks to Daniel Bentley for the Pic.

The fatal weakness of PM May is her inability to partner with anyone.  She behaves with everyone like the worst form of hectoring boss.  Contrast her behavior on Friday with that of Lord Adonis and City Mayors in launching the National Infrastructure Assessment   on the same day.

Clearly Gavin Barwell is having an influence, but in giving May more things to panic and strut about not necessarily a good one.

The mistakes on housing, particularly planning for housing land, and the taxation of land, are so longstanding and systemic.  You can’t turn that around in a couple of years.  It would be much better to take bold long term decisions, like on Garden Cities and New Settlements, that will leave a legacy.

But lets look at another reason for Khan’s beration.  London overspill – the elephant in the room of British Planning.

London Annual Shortfall
OAN per year to 2052 Annualised Current London Plan Target Employment led (Oxford E) Total  2016-2032 Total  2016-2052
Shortfall Completions 39,351 42,000 50,000
Typical 25,000 14,351 17,000 25,000 625,000 875,000
Typical +20% 30,000 1,351 12,000 20,000 500,000 700,000
Highpoint 38,000 1,351 4,000 12,000 300,000 420,000
Highpoint +20% 45,600 -6,249 -3,600 4,400 110,000 154,000


What this table shows is scenario planning for different levels of housing shortfall in London over medium and long term planning horizons.  The three target scenario are the OAN derived from the ONS tables, the current London plan target, and the Oxford Economics estimate which Khan in speeches has said the new London Plan will adopt.  So lets go with that one.

In terms of completions I have modelled four scenarios.  The typical completions in London over the last 15 years (outside Great Recession Years), this years estimated figures as a highpoint, unlikely to be repeated, at the top of the market (permissions are slowing down markedly in London), a one off distorted by years of delayed completions from the Great Recession.  To each of these two I added a 20% uplift which assumes new policies in the London Plan to increase housebuilding.  I think by far the most likely scenario is typical +20%.  This leads to an overspill requirement outside London by 2052 of 700,000 dwellings. (note I choose 35 years as that is the time needed to build out to design size a large New Town such ad Milton Keynes or Almere, 2016 is the base for the household projections).

This is what is driving Mays panic, unless there is a doubling of completions in London there will need to be massive overspill to the shires.  The DCLG know this.  They have the data.

So how realistic is it for the Great Wen to consume all its own smoke?

700,000 dwellings = 5,833 40 Storey Tower Blocks

Hong Kong Worlds Tallest urban agglomeration has 1,303 = up to 4.4 Hong Kongs of Tower Blocks

Do we want to see this Asian Style Vertical Sprawl?

Evidence strongly that at these densities diseconomies of congestion strongly outweigh positive urban agglomeration effects (Rappaport 2008)

Mayor of London – Post Grenfell – looking at alternative to tower blocks in
Revised London Plan

At 10 Storey Olympic Village Density – 335 DPH needs 1,791 Ha – 62.5 Olympic villages, 73.2 Aylesbury Estates – 8.06 sq miles –
Westminster=8.29 Sq miles

Equivalent to All Large Scale Housing Estates in London Capable of Demolition 1,750 HA (Complete Streets/Savills for Cabinet Office 2015)

At Least £5 billion cost of demolition plus cost of rehousing – we know post Grenfell nowhere to decant to (Professor Anne Powers estimate)

At Complete Streets favoured mansion block density 135 dph only capable of 1/3 this number

Equivalent to 10 Park Royals at Complete Streets Densities

So at Complete Streets densities need to knock down all of London’s Large Estates, All its Strategic Employment Sites and then start knocking down semi detached London

Every City that has tried development on this scale and density in recent years – e.g. Moscow, Harare, Seoul has seen mass protest, mass corruption, failure of developers after mass demolitions, overcrowding from decants and political climbdowns. Unlikely to be possible in a democracy.

Its politically impossible.  Khan knows this.  May sadly is not sharp enough to realise this and worries about ‘concreting over the countryside’ like the old style Tory she is.




May (in panic) to Housebuilders – You Naughty Naughty Boys


Given the lead in times between outline on big sites and development – even with a drop in ‘landabnking’ only a realtively number of extra homes could be buolt by yhe next election.  Upping numbers is a long term game.  The Tories are paying the consequences years later of Eric Pickles breaking the Planning System for Growth areas/

Theresa May has called Britain’s biggest developers to a Downing Street summit this week after pledging to “dedicate” her premiership to fixing the “broken” housing market.

Government sources said the Prime Minister will “lay down a challenge” to the industry to construct more homes, in a “significant intervention” following her promise to get more people onto the housing ladder.

Leading developers and building firms are expected to attend the summit on Tuesday, together with representatives from local authorities and housing associations.

The meeting comes after Mrs May used her conference speech to identify housing as the central domestic issue on which she will focus in the coming months.

The Sun

THERESA May is demanding  Britain’s ­biggest housebuilders construct more homes.

The PM will hold a No10 summit with  their bosses next week, we can reveal.

Theresa May has lost patience with construction bosses and will hold showdown talks with them at No10

Tuesday’s showdown comes as Downing Street runs out of patience with the sector, as James Forsyth reports in his ­Sun column today.

Senior Cabinet ministers admit the Tories will not win the next election unless they can solve the housebuilding crisis.

One told The Sun: “We have to get more homes built, it’s as simple as that. If we can’t get more people owning homes by 2022 we’ve lost.”

Earlier this year, ministers threatened to punish housebuilders who did not develop plots they own. They believe they sit on land to wait for prices to rise.

 Senior Cabinet ministers admit the Tories will not win the next election unless they can solve the housebuilding crisis

Senior Cabinet ministers admit the Tories will not win the next election unless they can solve the housebuilding crisis

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid published proposals to “use it, or lose it” amid fury at the slow pace of construction.

He also laid out plans that would force councils to approve more homes if prices get too high. Consultation on his Housing Strategy ends next week.

A report by the Civitas think-tank last year, meanwhile, revealed  two million planning permits were issued between 2006 and 2015, yet foundations were  laid on only 1.3million.

The Tories have promised  a million new homes by the end of the decade. Mrs May used her  conference speech to pump  £10billion into Help to Buy  and to step up a council house building. No10 refused to comment.

The Cambridge to Oxford Connections Completion Shortlist Gallery Revealed – A Disappointing Student’s Charette?

Its the biggest thing in Spatial Planning in Europe.

Huge anticipation of the results.

The shortlist of four announced from 58, yes 58 first stage entries.  Now published on The Malcolm Reading Website.

Lets say first the shortlisted entrants had an impossible task.  There was only 5 weeks to put together a consortium and prepare an ’emerging concept’ whilst the description of the emerging concept was highly sketchy – focusing on architectural typologies for a single community rather than a regional spatial vision.  This seemed to reflect tensions in the  competition judging panel between people of different professional backgrounds, architects, planners etc.  What is more it was run as an architectural competition rather than a spatial planning RFP.  This was simply too short a time for many such as myself to prepare serious proposals and ones informed by economic and transport research and modelling rather than simply a straight to paper urban design sketch.

What is more the competition was launched very late in the process. The National Infrastructure Commission had two years to prepare its strategy for the corridor after the announcement by George Osborne in 2015. The deadline was the autumn statement of 2017 (now the Budget 2017 November).  For the final strategy.

The remit set out in the former Chancellors letter was as an infrastructure strategy not a spatial plan (as the NIC are keen to point out) however one which included

‘Priority infrastructure to:… Develop sites (including public sector land) to meet existing and expected housing need, create new developments which are smart and sustainable, and provide commercial space for existing companies and inward investment.’ (Chancellors Brief to NIC 2015)’

The consultation responses to to the NICs interim report had an overwhelming call for a focus on additional housing as the main constraint on economic growth on the corridor. What everyone is clamoring to know is where are the growth locations, where are the new towns and garden cities?

However, again as the NIC will stress, the final report to be announced in the Budget wont answer this.  It is beyond their scope.  Rather the task of preparing a spatial plan, if ministers are persuaded of the need for one, will be handed over to the DCLG and government.  Indeed if you were preparing a spatial plan you would have started the process differently, having a scoping report for an SEA for example, this hasn’t been done yet so procedurally we are at least two years away from a regional plan.

Another common misconception is the competition winner will be drafting the spatial plan.  No it is an ideas competition announced at the 11th hour in the two year process.  The competition winner will be announced (early November)  after the NIC have handed their draft corridor report to the chancellor. Indeed the only prize seems to be picture credits in the final report – plus quodos of course.

The final designs produced by the shortlist will be used in the Commission’s Report to government in late 2017 and will be fully credited to the authors. The teams may also be given a continuing role as the wider project develops.

In any event those advising the government, if they do go for a full spatial plan, will need to go through a full OJEC procurement process anyway.  It would have been so much better if there had been a full procurement via a full RFP with a proper budget than this approach which is essentially getting ideas for free from the consultants – except of course for the 4 x £10,000 honiara.

So what form will the final Oxford Cambridge Connection Report by the NIC take.  On good authority more likely to be like the High Speed North report – a strategy towards a strategy – than a full spatial strategy.  Setting out a road map for the key infra decision like the final East West Rail and Expressway routes.  There may also be some quite bold announcements on infrastructure, so watch this space.

Turning now to the shortlist gallery.  I must say that perhaps I am biased and have some ‘skin in the game’ I with the help of some colleagues have been working for 9 months on a conceptual spatial and infrastructure plan for the corridor which includes proposals for 76 growth locations and 15 big affordable transport infrastructure projects, housing 1 1/2 million.   We didn’t submit an entry to the competition given its narrow brief and short timeframe – we had our eyes on the long game. With the agreement of the NIC to whom the ideas have been presented at a seminar last month these wont be published till after the Budget and the announcement of the strategy.

Having said that the gallery:  All nicely presented, all presenting modern urban design ideas such as Passivehouse, cycle orientated communities etc.  No fault for any of them on that score.  But what must mark the winner out is going beyond that – to meet the competition brief to ‘link infrastructure with placemaking’ – what where and how.

The first thing to say is I dont think any of the entries truly have grappled with the scale of the project.  The brief had a ‘transformational’ growth scenario of +1million dwellings.  This figure is to low based on a major technical error in a background report to the commission by Savills who assumed overspill from London would be absorbed by all regions equally, no it wont it will go mostly to unconstrained areas close to London, rather than in the North Downs or the sea off Gravesend for example.  Calculated correctly, and including second order effects of construction growth  (as included in a brilliant background report by Cambridge Economics) the transformational growth figure rises to +1.5 million (we will be publishing this shortly as part of our MOAN project).

I expected Tibbalds to be the clear favorites, as they have experience of planning at the whole settlement scale wheras two of the shortlisted entrants have never worked beyond the small estates scale.  But sadly there’s was the most disappointing.  The idea of a ‘velocity’ of cycle orientated cities is brilliant, but as a series of two storey villages expanding by organic growth?  This is akin to early 1970s proposals for cycling villages coming out of Centre for Alternative Technology pamphlets.  I a great fan of these dont get me wrong, but this is not a string of rural dutch or Danish villages.  All very inspiring and hygge but totally unsuitable for a corridor housing 1.5million people along a single railway line.  Just do the numbers in terms of transport capacity and land take, land budget and necessary density for walkable communities and you will see it just doesn’t add up with two storey dwellings. You cant meet the competition brief with two storey dwellings as the predominant typology, nor can you justify economically a frequency of service along East West Rail necessary to achieve transit orientated as opposed to car oriented communities,

Turning to Barton Willmore they have presented some good ideas for specific sites in the corridor in the call for sites process, but they were almost as disappointing.

Where will the growth go?  Putting the map upside down doesn’t conceal the lack of proposals.  And a National Park – like the idea for a London National Park city a gimmick that undermines the statutory purposes and protections of actual National Parks.  (the Hobhouse Commission in 1948 did actually propose a worthy  National Park  in the corridor – the Breck’s).

MAE ‘s entry really tackles the brief, connectivity, typology and where growth should go.

It specifies actual locations, like Calvert where East West Rail and HS2 cross  proposed as a new city on the blog several times, and a new north south connection, presumably the restoration of the Great Central Line- which we have championed.  However they needed to do more analysis of the site.  They propose building on the National Trust property of  Claydon House and the adjoining Berwood Forest area which really must be preserved and restored.    It also proposes several other major locations and connections that we have proposed – indeed any experienced regional planner is likely to suggest much the same locations – there is no prize for originality here nor should there be.  It is about securing consensus.  Most importantly they ‘get it’ about scale and capacity uncannily echoing our own ideas about typologies and scale.  Mae must win, they are the only ones approximating a fit for purpose regional vision.

Fletcher Priest focus on Hadenham Thame and for that area alone isn’t bad.   They correctly grasp that the Southern Expressway option is to be preferred and you shouldn’t build along it, that Haddenham and Thame should remain separate and the medieval streets of Hadenham push development in one direction.  What they missed and its a huge omission is that Thame sits on the Old Wycombe line which could easily be restored (as is already proposed to Cowley) as a rail based growth corridor.

Overall the planning firms presented student charette projects whilst the architectural firms presented actual planning proposals, of which only Mae tackled the brief.  Honorable mention to Fletcher Priest.  But none of them really tackle the key planning challenge relating to spatial planning for innovation clusters, the hard choices over infrastructure priorities and how to achieve the necessary scale of housing and the transport capacity to meet that scale.


Introducing MOAN – Model for Objective Assessment of Needs – A Fudge Factor Free Approach

We only have till 9th of November to respond to Planning for the right homes in the right places.

I have a week next week between finishing one contract and starting another so what better time to write up a model i’ve been developing for many months for estimating need for every LPA in England, and crucially without the ‘Global Fudge Factor’ that fatally undermines the DCLG -LPEG derived approach.  This model was a free by product of a research project which has to remain confidential for a few weeks.

There will be many technical post explaining the different modules and assumptions of the approach but first – here – a non technical introduction.

In summary the DCLG model wont work and will make our national systematic housing shortfall far worse.

The housing crisis in Britain has two main supply side reasons (there are demand side reasons but they are beyond the scope of planning an demography to address)

  1.  We have a systematic weakness in the UK planning system that means that housing need from places that wont or cant provide enough housing land is not reallocated to places that can and should (even if these overlap)
  2. We have provided more but not enough housing land in the fastest growing areas.  This has made housing affordability in these areas far worse since the 1980s – as the second order effects of additional households and in migration induced by the economics multiplier effects from housebuilding and construction is not accounted for in current methods.  The worst thing you can do is provide more but not enough housing land.

The DCLG consultation model is fatally flawed and will make matters worse.  It partially deals with the first problem – the ‘wont’ part – but a detailed analysis shows it will make matters far worse with the ‘cant’ part by reallocating housing need to the places with the greatest land shortages through a confused  ‘global fudge factor’.  This means that the systematic underprovision of housing nationally over the next 20 years or so will get far worse. It also doesn’t tackle the second part – and indeed will make matters far worse through cutting growth requirements in growth areas by the most – bizarrely and counter-productively just as plans for the next steps in the Oxford-MK-Cambridge project are to be announced in the Budget (formerly known as the Autumn statement).  The DCLG really has to scrap it and start again, but not from the drawing board, as sound methods for doing this have been developed over many years, indeed from the DCLG itself, and now seemingly forgotten given the institutional memory of the DCLG has become like Drew Barrymore’s character in the film 50 First Dates.

In many posts over the next week ill explain in detail the reasoning and analysis.

Where did the DCLG go so Wrong on Housing Numbers?

The dept used to be world renowned on this issue.  It had Alan Holmans as its chief demographer and housing economist – who died in 2015.  He developed what was known in the trade as the ‘demographic model.’    Later extended by equally renowned experts such as Glen Bramley and Christine Whitehead it became the basis of the model used by the National Housing and Planning Advisory Unit.  A model which was designed to neatly integrate with the DCLG Affordability model (an econometric model).    That was all lost.  Dr Holmans was never really replaced. For a while ideologically the dept believed it didn’t even need to do national statistics and estimates of housing need.

Along comes LPEG – many of us had warned that the NPPF system could only begin to approximate to partially work if it included a firm and unarguable OAN methodology.  Sadly I must confess the term ‘Objective Assessment of Need’ was my own, and like ‘Core Strategy’ and ‘housing numbers game’ will be engraved on my gravestone as planners jump up and down on it like Picasso on Franco’s grave cursing the hell id inflicted on the nation.

But in my defense ‘ seriously.  LPEG I give them credit, half composed of the authors of the NPPF, like John Rhodes, they realised the warnings it would be a disaster would be correct proved true and the LPEG report is their mia culpa.  The fudging and dodging of need was a disaster, the DTC hadn’t worked, the abandoning of strategic planning in growth corridors was a catastrophe.

However for an organisation less disfunctional than the DCLG it might have thought that the last person you get to fix your car after a crash is the person who cut the brakelines.   They are an expert now on avoiding car crashes now are they?  LPEG commissioned Nat Litch to provide a spreadsheet method to reconcile the demographic baseline with the aspirations of the Barker report for an ‘Uplift’ based on ‘Market Factors’.  This was the origin of the now notorious ‘Global Fudge Factor’ on page 11 of the consultation.  The problem was Barker misspecified the problem.  If you have a hurricane on a Caribbean island market factors will tell you afterwards though speculation you have a shortage of standing houses.  However the fact you have had a hurricane means you can predict straight away a housing shortfall.  By not predicting the obvious   and relaying on after the fact market signals it was institutionalising the British Problem – always being one step behind not one step ahead in meeting national housing need.  The Treasury, as always in their bullying of the DCLG on planning policy, had made matters far worse than to begin with.

How to Fix It

Over several posts we will be presenting MOAN.  The Model for Objectively Assessing Needs.

Its baseline model is a simple spreadsheet and totally non black box extension of the spreadsheet presented by ONS for the 2014 based household projections – effectively rebuilding the demographic /NHPAU model with modern ideas, data, and statistical techniques.

On top of this there is a second model for estimating many scenarios for bridging the gap between OAN and OAP (Objectively Assessed Potential) and helping inform high level national political decisions for bridging it.   This approach is a by product of a huge research project i’ve been leading spread across several countries and projects with support from a number of research institutions and which is about to go live as an open source research framework.  It arose out of the challenge of how to model and plan for our greatest challenge as a planet – rapid urbanisation – simultaneously our greatest generator of economic growth and greatest environmental destroyer.  It is a framework for generating model at a city, regional, national and global scale for swift assessment of high level scenarios for rapid urbanisation.  Its first live test on an area larger than a city is a model for the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Corridor and overspill from London and Birmingham. This model – and watch for this website coming shortly – is called Planet Planagon, and will require massive input from GIS, urban planning, housing and other specialists to realise its potential.

Watch this space.


Oxford City Centre to become Electric Only Zero Emissions Zone


Once LAs start doing this it will become a flood.  Expect within three months Cambridge and Central London to have followed suite.  If your introducing number plate recognition – might as well introduce congestion charging at same time.

Oxford is set to become the first place in the UK to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles from its city centre.

The proposals would see all petrol and diesel taxis, cars and buses excluded from six central streets from 2020.

The area will then be expanded in 2025 and 2030 to encompass the entire city centre, and finally in 2035 HGVs will be banned from the same zone – making it what is thought to be the world’s first Zero Emissions Zone.

On Monday, a six-week public consultation on the proposals will be launched.

Experts say the scheme could cut levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) down to near-background levels, with as much as a 74 per cent reduction in one street.

Oxford City Council environment chief John Tanner said the move is “urgently needed”.

Toxic and illegal air pollution in the city centre is damaging the health of Oxford’s residents. A step change is urgently needed; the Zero Emission Zone is that step change.Councillor John Tanner

However, it will also cost bus operators, taxi firms, haulage companies and councils an estimated £14m.

Oxford Bus Company, Stagecoach, all taxi firms, other businesses, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council will have to spend an estimated £7m replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with electric or hybrid.

Even the councils’ bin lorries and gritting vehicles will need to be changed.

The two councils will then need to spend a further £7m on administration and a new CCTV system with automatic number plate recognition to enforce the ban.

Anyone driving a non-electric vehicle in the zone will most likely receive an automatic fine similar to the bus gate fine of £60.

As the zones are being gradually expanded, the councils have said the majority of the cost would be back-loaded to the second half of the next 18 years, giving time to budget.

The city council said the zone would “need to be supported with further funding” from government, with bids expected in due course.

Kate Barker – Government need to Aquire Land for New Towns and Urban Extensions


One of Britain’s leading housing experts has issued a grave warning about the national housing crisis, claiming that current policies are more likely to exacerbate inequality and homelessness than solve the problem.

In a damning assessment of policy, economist Dame Kate Barker has urged the Government to come up with new policies to help buyers and renters or there will never be enough houses built to keep prices down, she said.

Dame Kate’s wrote a highly influential report in 2004 while a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, which has set the tone for house-building targets ever since.

Her report found that 233,000 to 285,000 new houses would be needed in England each year, depending how much the Government wanted to slow down house price growth. If the trends continue, inequality will grow and more people will become homeless, she said, stressing the need for improved standards in the rental market to help those who cannot afford to buy a property.

Last week, at the Tory party conference, Theresa May pledged to make money available to build new social housing. Dame Kate welcome the move but said far more money was needed.

“If you look back at the work that I did, it tells you we need an enormous amount of supply to bring prices down – far beyond what we’re likely to do. So that is clearly not going to be effective on its own,” Dame Kate said. “The things that are likely to bring prices down relative to incomes are much much more likely to be economic difficulties, or changes in interest rates so that people couldn’t afford so much.”

Alternative policies are needed to improve the functioning of the housing market and to make sure people have access to decent quality homes. “We shouldn’t kid ourselves we can get supply up quickly,” she said.

She called for tougher standards to force any bad landlords to raise the quality of the properties they let out.ame Kate added that she supports the tax changes which reduce returns for buy-to-let owners, “shifting the balance” in favour of would-be owner occupiers. But she still does want more action on supply of new homes, even it it will not hit her targets from 2004.

“The real question is whether or not the Government is prepared to be more interventionist in the land market, in terms of acquiring land for new towns or big urban extensions,” she said.

“The trouble is it is quite hard to find good ways to fund that that don’t affect the government’s finances.”

She cautioned against relying on numbers she calculated 13 years ago. “I’m amazed people still use my numbers,” said Dame Kate, now a non-executive director for house-builder Taylor Wimpey. “Sometimes I think I’ve been responsible for a narrative which makes supply too important [in the debate]”.

Population growth has been higher than she expected while income growth has been lower. If she updated the numbers to account for this, the figure would still come in at around 240,000 homes per year.

“Supply is important but things do change. One of the reasons household supply has been very tight for the past decade is because we have had very strong net migration – it would be ludicrous to deny it – and if that changes it will change the balance between supply and demand.”

2/3rds of Sydneysiders now Believe Sydney if Full – why Cities Always Rebel before they can properly Densify

A couple of weeks ago Professor Janice Morphet disagreed with a presentation I gave at a seminar, where I argued that for London to accommodate all of its own household  growth by 2.052 would require 3.8 Hong Kong’s Worth of Tower Blocks and this would be politically impossible in a democracy.  She disagreed arguing that London had hardly begun to densify.  The argument though is not whether there is the theoretical potential for densification, London clearly does,  as cities with the highest theoretical uplift have also the highest number of voters who will be affected by it.  With a majority now renting they lack the incentive to sell up to densify.  So those cities they try aggressively to density always see a backlash they see the density dials racked down in due course.  Case studies include San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle  It is slightly naive then to argue they should be more urbanist.  They tried and sacked chief planners, political and voters rebellion later shows how hard it is in a democracy.  Only cities like Harare and Moscow have managed to drive mass identification through – so are the models Mugabe and Putin? Whilst cities in democracies such as Seoul have failed, leaving in some cases, as in Seoul, a legacy of mass demolition and massive corruption, without seeing enough houses to replace the ones being demolished.  In Britain with Corbyn at the Labour conference we see a similar rebellion.  Javid is already talking about moving away from the Tower Block towards ‘Olympic Villages type densities (London needs 53.6 Olympic Villages or  62.8 redeveloped Aylesbury Estates at that density of development – try finding space for just one extra or space for the decants post Grenfell.)

Sydney Morning Herald

More than two-thirds of people believe Sydney is full and property development should be pushed to the fringes, new polling shows, amid simmering tensions within communities and the Berejiklian government over the issue.

With plans for hundreds of thousands of apartments in the city’s “priority precincts” over the next 20 years, the ReachTel poll conducted for Fairfax Media shows 66.4 per cen

It finds 22.8 per cent support more development in existing areas because Sydney is growing and 10.7 per cent are undecided.

Significantly for the Coalition government, 61.7 per cent of Liberal supporters believe Sydney is full, 28 per cent are in favour of more development and 10.4 per cent are undecided.


Planning Minister Anthony Roberts says more housing is needed to accommodate a growing population.Planning Minister Anthony Roberts says more housing is needed to accommodate a growing population.

Of Labor voters, 68 per cent are opposed to more development in existing areas, 17.8 per cent are in favour and 14.1 per cent are undecided.

The results will fuel tensions over the Greater Sydney Commission’s plans, spilling into the upper echelons of the NSW government.

Cabinet colleagues Corrections Minister David Elliott and Planning Minister Anthony Roberts have

Fairfax Media revealed last month that then deputy mayor of Ryde Jane Stott said she felt “threatened and intimidated” by Finance Minister Victor Dominello after he told her and then Ryde mayor Bill Pickering he could not support their preselections if they voted in favour of a 1400-apartment development he opposed.

Mr Dominello, the member for Ryde, has denied doing anything wrong, arguing he was standing up for his community in the face of overdevelopment.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet John Sidoti has criticised development plans in his seat of Drummoyne.

Days after he stood alongside Mr Roberts at a media conference to launch the feedback process for a plan to add 3600 homes at Rhodes East, Mr Sidoti said he believed it should be “totally abandoned”.

The Greater Sydney Commission, established last year to lead on planning and development issues and chaired by former Sydney lord mayor Lucy Turnbull, says the city will need about 725,000 extra homes over the next 20 years to accommodate a growing and ageing population.

Sydney’s population is expected to grow by about 1.74 million by 2036.

It says that, even without further population growth, an additional 140,000 homes will be needed in this period due to the anticipated fall in the size of the average home as the ageing population of “empty nesters” and singles boosts demand.

The top five local government areas due to bear the brunt of the development over the next five years are Parramatta (21,450), Sydney (18,250), Blacktown (13,600), Canterbury-Bankstown (12,200) and Camden (11,800).

On Sunday, a spokesman for Mr Roberts said the NSW government “is committed to providing homes for Sydney’s growing population, but with careful consideration for maintaining local character”.

“It is thanks to Labor and the ‘Sydney is full’ mentality that the Coalition government inherited a 100,000 dwelling shortage in Sydney,” he said.

The spokesman said the population was increasing because people were living longer, more children were being born and more people were moving to NSW due to it having an economy that was “the best in Australia”.

“The government’s priority growth areas and priority precincts are being strategically developed to recognise local character, deliver more open and active recreation space and create employment opportunities at the same time as delivering the increased types of housing our city needs,” he said.

The reason why

They have dominated suburban Sydney for generations but the freestanding home with a driveway and a yard is in decline.

The total number of traditional detached homes across greater Sydney has fallen by almost 15,000 over the past decade, analysis of the census shows, even though the city’s population grew by more than three-quarters of a million people in that time.

Terry Rawnsley, regional economist with consultancy SGS Economics & Planning, said

“Sydney is going through a catch-up phase to get more of that medium and high-density accommodation.”

Daily Mail – Help to Buy – Throwing Petrol onto A Bonfire

Daily Mail

Wealthy families are exploiting a £7billion government scheme aimed at first-time buyers.

Help to Buy doles out taxpayers’ money so househunters can secure a mortgage.

Almost 135,000 families have taken advantage since its launch in 2013. But four in ten recipients were earning more than £50,000 a year and one in ten was on at least £80,000.

More than 5,000 purchasers had six-figure incomes. Help to Buy has also been highly lucrative for builders and their bosses, accounting for a third of private sales of new homes.

amilies are exploiting a £7bn government scheme aimed at first-time buyers. Help to Buy doles out taxpayers’ money so househunters can secure a mortgage. Almost 135,000 families have taken advantage since its launch in 2013. F

Profits, share prices and executive bonuses have soared at firms including Barratt, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey. Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of Persimmon, where around half of sales are through Help to Buy, is in line for a £130million payout.

Academics said the scheme – given a £10billion further boost by Theresa May this week – was driving up house prices.

‘Help to Buy is like throwing petrol on to a bonfire,’ said Sam Bowman, of the Adam Smith Institute. ‘This scheme is being used by investment bankers and doctors. They are certainly not the sort of people who the taxpayer should be subsidising.

‘It is astonishing that households earning over £100,000 a year are using it.’

Luke Murphy of the Institute for Public Policy Research, another think-tank, said Help to Buy had made houses less affordable.

‘The two fundamental problems are that it pushes up property prices and that it is primarily helping those who would have been able to buy anyway,’ he added.

‘For those that can’t afford to purchase their own home, Help to Buy is pushing their dream further out of reach.’

  Academics said the scheme – given a £10billion further boost by Theresa May this week – was driving up house prices

The equity loan scheme allows families to purchase new-builds worth up to £600,000 using deposits of only 5 per cent – or £30,000. The Government loans up to another 20 per cent interest-free for five years, or 40 per cent in London – £120,000 or £240,000.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says 134,558 homes have been sold through Help to Buy since it was launched by George Osborne four years ago.

The average value of the government loan is £49,963. But 52,928 of the families who have used the scheme – or nearly 40 per cent – earn more than £50,000 a year. Another 12,758 – nearly 10 per cent – are paid over £80,000 and 5,032 have a household income greater than £100,000.

A government survey found that 57 per cent of people using Help to Buy said they could have afforded to purchase a home without the scheme. One in five was not a first-time buyer at all.

Shelter said the scheme was making it progressively harder for renters to get on the housing ladder. ‘Extending Help to Buy is the wrong priority,’ said Polly Neate, the charity’s chief executive.

‘It has barely helped the first-time buyers it is targeted at and has done nothing to help those worst affected by our broken housing market.’

Mark Littlewood, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: ‘Not only does Help to Buy completely fail to recognise why the cost of housing is so high in the first place, it will also fail to benefit many of the people it’s designed to help. The policy, which encourages people to take on debt they cannot afford in order to boost demand and lead to a rise in house prices is improvident, reckless and wrong.’

A government spokesman said: ‘Help to Buy: Equity Loan supports people who want to turn their dream of owning a home into a reality, this week we announced £10billion of new funding for the scheme.

’90 per cent of buyers have a total household income of £80,000 or less, and 81 per cent of those using the scheme are first time buyers.

‘This Government is committed to fixing the broken housing market and to help more people find a home of their own, with the support of a range of home ownership products.’

The Treasury has insisted the extra £10billion of funding will help another 135,000 families ‘make their dream of owning a home a reality’. When the house is sold, the Government takes the same proportion of the sale price as it loaned at the time of the initial purchase. If the house price has gone up, the government makes money, if it has fallen, the taxpayer makes a loss.

There is also a Help to Buy Isa and a Help to Buy shared ownership scheme.

The five biggest stock market listed builders made combined profits of more than £3billion last year.