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Fri November 22 2019

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Investigation into house-building delays

15 Jan 18 The government has agreed terms for an investigation into why there is such a big difference between the amount of planning permission being granted and the number of homes being built.

Sir Oliver Letwin
Sir Oliver Letwin

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has commissioned Sir Oliver Letwin MP, former Cabinet Office minister, to chair a review of impediments that stand between planning approval and bricklaying. The aim is to speed up the delivery of new homes.

The first phase of the build-out review, as it is being called, is looking for the main causes of the gap between approvals and starts by reviewing large housing sites where planning permission has already been granted.

Phase two will make recommendations on practical steps to increase the speed of build out.

The review panel is comprised of journalist Richard Ehrman, banker Lord Jitesh Gadhia, former Labour defence secretary Lord John Hutton, crossbencher Baroness Usha Prashar and academic Christine Whitehead, emeritus professor of housing economics at London School of Economics.

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The terms of reference handed down by housing secretary Sajid Javid to Sir Oliver Letwin state: “The review should seek to explain the significant gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned in areas of high housing demand, and make recommendations for closing it.  The review should identify the principal causes of the gap, and identify practical steps that could increase the speed of build out. These steps should support an increase in housing supply consistent with a stable housing market in the short term and so that over the long-term, house prices rise slower than earnings.”

The review will provide an interim report in time for Spring Statement 2018 and a full report for Budget 2018.

Sir Oliver Letwin said: “This government is serious about finding ways to increase the speed of build out as well as tackling the complicated issues surrounding it. That’s why we have set up this diverse panel to help me test my analysis and to make practical, non-partisan recommendations, as we look to increase housing supply that’s consistent with a stable UK housing market.”

Housing secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are determined to build the homes this country needs, but currently there is still a significant gap between the number of planning permissions being granted and the number of homes built. This review is vital to helping us understand how we can build more homes quickly.”

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