A Labour government may give local authorities “use it or lose it” powers to stop developers hoarding land needed for homebuilding, opposition leader Ed Miliband will say today.
Although some “land banking” is needed to maintain a supply of sites, in too many cases developers are sitting on land with planning permission and waiting for the value to increase, Miliband will tell Labour’s National Policy Forum in Birmingham.
“Nobody should be in any doubt about this Labour Party’s determination to rebuild this country, get our construction industry working again and give families a decent chance of owning a decent home for their children just like their parents did before them,” Miliband will say, according to extracts of his speech released by his office.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in March a program to help people struggling to afford a home and spur new construction. The International Monetary Fund said the plan risks pushing up house prices and called on the government to consider tax disincentives for holding land without development.
Under Labour’s proposal, local authorities would be able to charge developers fees for hoarding land unnecessarily or, as a last resort, issue a compulsory purchase order, Miliband will say.
“All options should be on the table including giving local authorities real power to say to the worst offenders that they should either use the land, or lose the land,” he will say. “Permission to build should mean landowners build. If there is unnecessary hoarding, developers should be encouraged to do what they are in business to do: build houses.”
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