The Conservatives’ planning changes focus on local plans to address housing needs. They promise to give local communities more power to have a say on what is built and where.
Planning policies will also prioritise building on brownfield land with greater protections for the green belt – an issue that proved controversial among backbench Conservative MPs.
Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter
The planning changes are set to be introduced alongside the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which is currently being discussed at the report stage in the House of Lords this week having previously cleared the House of Commons.
Speaking at the Liaison Committee last week, Rishi Sunak said it was “important that the planning system has the confidence of local communities.”
The prime minister added: “We are reforming how the planning system works to strengthen the neighbourhood plans, which have shown they can deliver the housing people need in their local areas but they do so in a way that has the consent of the community which is important.”
However, analysis from Lichfields claimed the new rules would see 77,000 fewer homes delivered each year with a huge social impact.
The housing consultancy said there would be an increase in the number of concealed households with 580,000 extra people forced into hidden homelessness, also known as sofa surfing. That would be a 30% increase taking the number of concealed households up from 1.6 million today to 2.1 million in 2030.
Failing to build enough homes could also see 13,400 more people made homeless and add 137,000 to social housing waiting lists as well as seeing house prices rise by £18,400.
Rents could also grow by £208 per year on top of existing forecasts that say the imbalance between supply and demand in the sector could see rents rise £1,900 per year.
However, housing minister Rachel Maclean said the government “doesn’t necessarily accept” Lichfields’ analysis.
She told the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee in April: “Obviously we respect their research, they’re a well respected body, but we don’t necessarily agree with it, because they’re making assumptions.”
Labour has pledged to reform the planning system and restore local housebuilding targets if the party gains power at next year’s General Election.
Nandy and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves are also set to convene an emergency summit of mortgage brokers to discuss the impact of the housing crisis on first-time buyers and homeowners.
Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription
Labour has previously called for mandatory measures to support mortgage-paying households, including allowing borrowers to switch to interest-only mortgage payments for a temporary period or lengthen their mortgage period.
“Across Britain, people are being hit hard by a Tory mortgage bombshell,” said Nandy.
“We would stop households missing out on the mortgage support they need by making measures mandatory, we will give greater rights and protections to renters, and we will take the tough choices to get Britain building.”
Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.