Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, has expressed concern at the Government’s mismanagement of the sale of publicly-owned land, as a new report into this issue is released by the Public Accounts Committee.
The Committee’s report shows the Government to have fallen badly short of its target to sell enough land for 160,000 new homes by 2020, with the need for affordable homes including social homes for rent having been neglected.
The Government’s target to raise £5bn in proceeds from the sale of this land has also drawn criticism from the Committee for conflicting with the new homes target – risking more lucrative land sales being prioritised over those offering the greatest potential for new homes.
Said Flint: “The nation has a growing shortage of housing, and nowhere is this felt more acutely that in the social housing sector. The sale of publicly-owned land for housing is an opportunity for the Government to avoid a crisis. But through muddled objectives and a lack of strategic planning, this opportunity is being squandered.”
“Meeting the demand for new housing is an urgent problem in need of an urgent response. It is hugely concerning that the Government has made so little progress in freeing-up land for desperately needed new homes.”
“Doncaster’s house building is outstripping the Government’s target and the Council is using land to build new council housing, but the rules in place since 2011 have undermined provision of affordable housing on mixed developments.
“I am seriously worried that the Government has made so little effort to ensure the delivery of affordable homes, particularly social homes, through its land disposal strategy.”
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” stressed Flint. “Once this land has been sold the Government will lose all and any say over how it is used.“
“The Government has the means at its disposal to exert greater control over the kinds of homes that are built on land sold. The cost will be high if it fails to do so."
Caroline Flint MP has been a member of the Public Accounts Committee since 2015. The Public Accounts Committee is Parliament’s oldest and most powerful select committee, and works to scrutinise the Government’s finances and ensure better value for money for the taxpayer.
Read the full report: