Uk politics March 2018

The key measures are:

  • 10% of homes on major sites should be available for affordable home ownership
  • Builders to be more open about affordable housing commitments at planning stage
  • Councils will have to adopt a new nationwide standard showing housing need in their areas
  • Infrastructure needs to be considered at pre-planning stage
  • Councils to consider revoking planning permission after two years if building has not started
  • Ancient Woodland and aged trees to get specific protection

that list is not gonna fool anyone, surely?

(let’s abandon the other thread)

Saw a Newcastle council person deal very well with questions about this from some BBC News dickhead at lunch time. The dickhead was giving it “do you think local authorities aren’t doing enough to build new houses” and our hero was straight back in with “we can’t do it without Treasury approval to borrow the money we’d need. This planning permission stuff is a red herring.”


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All “shoulds” and “maybes” for the private sectors and a" will have to" for the councils


None of them look like inherently bad changes, but it’s tinkering at the fringes stuff, innit.

yr all tories

shakes fist angrily

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I choose to hope that the few people this might get to just about afford a house* will still know the tories are wank

*not that they’ll do any of it

Taking the measures in turn:

  1. 10% of homes to be affordable is too low, and below what a lot of major sites are building anyway, or at least, what developers are paying councils to build elsewhere. ‘Affordable’ needs to be more strictly defined and more generous.
  2. Too woolly. This should be the crucial part of these measures and the only way to combat it is to tighten legislation and fund planning departments properly so that they can have the expertise necessary to challenge developers’ viability assessments.
  3. This is what Labour tried to do back in the 00s, but Tory councils refused to play ball and the coalition government basically scrapped the idea. It’s a good measure and will see a battle between the national government, conservative councils in the shires and NIMBYs. Good. It’s needed.
  4. They kind of already are, but not to the extent that they should be. I think this could go two ways: either councils refuse to allow any house building because they don’t have school spaces, or the government are proposing a much more european-style pro-active planning framework allocating land for development. I think they may go for the latter in selected areas or development zones.
  5. This already happens after three years automatically, so I don’t see this making much of a difference.
  6. I don’t know about this one. Younger trees and managed woodland can be more valuable than aged trees and ancient woodland in many circumstances.

Until the national government allows local government to borrow to build new council homes that are then protected from right-to-buy, I can’t see much progress being made on house-building, and detaching home ownership from financial speculation and security will take many more changes on a structural level, none of which this government seem willing to consider…

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Is it, in most instances, “80% of market rent” essentially?

In planning terms, yes, for rented accommodation, although some local authorities (especially in London) are tightening up the definition and pushing down the rental threshold

Thought so. Because like fuck is that affordable in an increasing number of areas.

tbf I do actually get the sense Theresa May is reasonably sincere about trying to do something about housing. Can imagine anything she says about housebuilding however is going to go down like a plate of sick in her own constituency.

does not compute


I think she’s aware that the situation is untenable in terms of future Conservative electoral success and she may even be aware that it’s untenable in terms of the UK’s long-term economic success.

I’ve yet to see many measures proposed in the past 8 years that would alleviate the current situation, however, and many that actively accelerate it.

If she’s genuine about the desire to tackle it, she’ll have to take on the local Tory councils in the shires and possibly lose those councils in elections to do so.

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I mean is she even trying? She hasn’t even mentioned increasing the amount of social housing or Housing Partnership housing. I mean I guess that would be entirely antithetical to being a Tory but affordable housing does practically nothing for the majority of people looking to buy houses.


‘Affordable’ in a new development local to me is a mere £375,000.



I know, right?

FWIW, I think she’s one of the Tories who genuinely believes much of the stuff they say about social mobility, opportunity and so on, but she hasn’t got the foggiest about how to actually do it. The fact that she sees 10% “affordable” housing and “considering” revoking planning permission after 2 years as bold steps really says everything about her approach to this stuff.

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I don’t always agree with John Elledge on housing (it’s not just a case of “build more bloody houses,” for example), but this is a decent summary of the speech:

imo “affordable housing” should mean that a small room in a shared house can be rented for less than 30% of full time work on minimum wage

i appreciate that many people - including on here - will think that definition is too low or that it’s unfair to base affordability on the income of single people who work full time is unfair but it’s the best i can do right now

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At the risk of the kind of glibness we were talking about in the “how we debate” thread.

Talking to voters during last year’s election campaign

I thought May’s thing during that campaign was talking at Tory activists rather than voters? That whole part of the speech is actually written reasonably well, but it reads really poorly considering reality.