Ownership for everyone

I would like the budget to do more to help create a new generation of owners.

Surveys show that many people would like to be able to buy their own home. Many would like to be their own boss and run their own business. In recent years the UK has established a good rate of new business formation, but has struggled more with widening home ownership. The government’s Help to buy schemes have assisted, but the proportion of people owning their own home is still below levels it reached in the past.

One of the issues that government needs to consider is that of planning. Councils who want to help get homes built can find they suffer from ways the development industry can game the system. A Council often wants to concentrate new building in a given location so that the costs of providing decent roads, schools, surgeries and the rest are kept under some control, and the strains imposed on public services and the transport network in the rest of the area are minimised.

Developers who can take advantage of the planning permissions for the new settlement or for the extension of the settlement can decide to build out the permissions at a slow pace. They can then with other  landowners apply for planning applications elsewhere, claiming the Council area is not keeping up with the demands of the local plan to provide more homes. The developer may say they have a good reason to go slow on the main site for commercial reasons. This can lead to the grant of further planning permissions outside the local plan, which then will require further infrastructure and public service investment that has not been in the budget.

In a plan led system this can be difficult for the Council concerned and can impose more disruption from building work around a local community that had signed up to growth in stated locations. The government needs to think how this perverse incentive can be removed in areas where the local plan is allowing a good rate of new build where developers co-operate.

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80 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    The planning system is generally absurd, misguided, vague, expensive, slow and incompetent, often it is rather corrupt too.

    One of the most perverse aspects is where you are obliged to knock down a perfectly good house in order to build a replacement when you could (for rather less cost) have both houses. Or you are told you cannot convert a barn as it needs “too much building work” to convert it – so what – why on earth should that matter?

    Doubtless the courts (or May/Hammond and the Taylor report) will soon tell us all the subcontractors on the building site are employees too!

    Relax planning, augment permitted development rights, cut and simplify taxes, relax the OTT green crap building regulations, abolish stamp duty, get more competition in banking, get rid of most of the destructive red tape in banking, go for easy hire and fire, train more builders and engineers and fewer lawyers. tax accountants and humanities graduates students and the likes.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Also go for cheap mainly gas energy and reduce the absurd planning gain taxes on developers and the social housing requirements. Why should some get subsidised housing paid for by others? This even when the tenants have similar incomes.

      Perhaps we have to assist some elderly and genuinely sick with subsidies for their rents a little, but all properties should be rented at market rents otherwise you distort the market and kill property provision. After all May says she believes in free markets – even though she clearly does not have a clue what they are.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Nothing to do with planning and absolutely everything to do with 3 million unexpected citizens. 250,000 a year and rising.

      Just how the hell can any country *plan* for that !

  2. Mark B
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The problem is too many people wanting somewhere to live and not enough done to accommodate this. Whether it be ownership or rental mass immigration has created the demand whilst the supply side has woefully lagged behind.

    Schemes such as the government’s so called Help to Buy has distorted the market. Rather than let the market decide it wants to intervene. We need less government.

    Low interest rates and damage to people’s pensions, again by the government, has driven the money into BTL. Now the government having bled the pensions dry and Stamp Tax making moving even to a smaller property expensive the market is coming under new strain and government receipts are falling.

    We need to see a reduction in taxes and what the State spends. More money in people’s pockets.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      Good morning

      At the time of writing my above post is still in moderation. Why ?

      Unlike Dennis Cooper who has posted something that:

      a) is off topic.

      b) is as long if not longer.

      c) has a link to an external website which you have to check.

      d) makes disparaging references to named and unnamed persons.

      e) makes multiple posts.

      Please tell me why then does this humble missive of mine above, which breaks no rules gets held up for 24 hours ?

      You have been accused many times by many people of deliberately holding up or not posting people’s comments. You have given in the past many good reasons why. Now that I have posted something that satisfies all your criteria when clearly another does not I think it is only good and decent that you tell me why the above is held. If not, then I am afraid the aforementioned accusation is true. Shame on you if it is.

      • APL
        Posted November 16, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Redwood’s blog, Redwoods discretion who gets published and when.

        • miami.mode
          Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          Second that APL. If these people who complain don’t like it, then let them start their own blog where they can write and publish anything that suits them. Our host seems remarkably tolerant at times.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 17, 2017 at 3:10 am | Permalink

        No answer came the stern reply. Apart from the 3 year olds that is.

        • APL
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          Mark B: “Apart from the 3 year olds that is.”

          We thought we’d join you in the kindergarten for a while.

          Many of us are not Redwoods Constituents.

          It’s his blog – Sometimes, frequently a comment of mine stays in moderation too long for my liking. It annoying but at the end of the day, this blog is for John Redwood to publish his material.

          He’s quite tolerant that we often discuss in the comments topics that are unrelated to his posts.

          For that, Thank you Mr Redwood.

  3. Duncan
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    What’s the point of talking about home ownership when we have a politician namely Hammond in charge at the Treasury whose only concern is upping taxes to finance public sector largesse?

    This EU obsessive with his liberal left PM at his side is little more than a Labour chancellor in a Conservative suit. A dyed in the wool Keynesian whose primary concern is to dispel the myth, for it is a myth, that the Tories are ‘the nasty party’. How does he achieve this? Quite simply, by more taxes and more spending. That isn’t clever politics, that’s the politics of the coward. The politics of a party led by a politician that is determined to counter the Guardianista inspired propaganda that the Tories are evil and exploitative. If that means ever more spending, more liberal left intervention, more social engineering…and on it goes

    People vote Conservative because they believe it is a party that holds to fiscal prudence, is able to run a government and its constituent parts along sustainable lines and yet we have nothing more than a Labour government in all but name

    Sound money policies. Reform of the public sector. Confront the unions and the liberal left. A halt to May’s crazed social engineering programme. Cut the size of the entire State but more important of all cut peoples taxes. The less money politicians when in govt. have to spend the less power they have to abuse

    It’s just so pathetic to see cowering Conservative politicians terrified of expressing their beliefs. You lot have sold your soul to the left and you’ll pay a heavy price for it at the ballot box

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Also stop the planners from using tree listing to frustrate developments and force people to live in perpetual shade – sweeping up leaves every autumn.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      more rubbish quality “new build” that will be rubble within 30 years is not going to help anyone

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      ah trees, yes Rugby council springs to mind, puts more resources into protecting trees than it does into protecting vulnerable people, complete nutcases on the issue.

      tree protection orders should be abolished, except in rare circumstances as decided like listed building status, and not dished out to every tree in town like Rugby do. take the power away from councils for sure.

    • Hope
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Migrant Watch proves the housing demand is down to immigration over the last 15 years and says Javid claims in parliament were false and misleading when he claimed the demand was due to ordinary population growth. The statistics are startling. So the govt in the help to buy scheme, again, putting immigrants needs before our own citizens. When you read councils housing policy and point systems you realise why the young British are so fed up with your party. For goodness sake wake up, we are not as stupid as May, Javid and others think. Why does your blog not address this key fundamental issue?

      Moreover what does this tell you about the overwhelmed public services- NHS, schools, universities etc. When will your govt stop lying, stop misleading that it cutting immigration, when we all know in the real world that is not the case?

      Davis now claiming he will make bilateral agreement to give EU citizens the right to vote here without anything in return- how does this bode for good negotiation?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        JR like everyone else knows that the out of control immigration is the real underlying problem, the problem is he is surrounded by the “group think” of the political class and their perverse version of political correctness which does not want to admit it.

  5. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Having worked in housing development for many years it was the norm then that the faster they finished their sites they maximised their profit and their labour mainly contractors stayed with them as ongoing employment was guaranteed.

    The power still is with the councils it is they that can apply penalty clauses if the site is not fully finished and all the amenities promised are delivered. Developers are very street wise when it comes to market forces and in the real world for the rest of us must apply to them. if one company is struggling it can sell the remains of the development to another smaller build or developer but the constraints laid down by the council planning must remain in place and be enforced.

    Developers love to cherry pick build the most profitable units and leave the affordable homes to the very end of the development and it is not unknown that the number of affordable homes are reduced or crammed into a smaller area with no support amenities, play areas and the like.

    The who;e planning process has to be changed in that a critical part of the development has to be commercial or industrial units to enable jobs or business start ups to become attractive to potential purchasers and investors. But the biggest problem that still exists is the way developments receive planning with little or no consideration to the infrastructure to support it. Surgeries, play and educational schools, hospitals, good access routes to the major road infrastructure, railway network all these things increase the sales ability of the development. l

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Since 2012 146,000 property transactions have not taken place due to absurdly high stamp duty taxes a report suggests. Harming the economy rather a lot and damaging people’s quality of life. Well done Osborne & Hammond.

    No Mr Hammond we do not need a silly reduction “just for some first time buyers” we want full abolition of SDLT or at least sensible rates (1% or less) for all buyers and tenants should not be mugged either with the extra 3%. Turnover taxes are profoundly damaging and wrong headed as any sensible economist will tell you. As is IHT at such absurd rates and low thresholds.

    Not that I expect anything sensible to come out of a Hammond budget, anymore than an Osborne or Brown one. They, are after, all misguided socialists.

    15 rather unpleasant, “Brexit mutineers” photographed on the front of the Telegraph today – enough to put anyone off their Breakfast.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I take all you have said John, but most Councils already have a 5 ,10, 15, or 20 year outline plan where development is preferred or can take place.
    The problem is that a so called Independent Government inspector can become involved on appeal, and overrule the Council.
    Likewise a Minister it seems can do the same it would appear, as did John Prescott with Wokingham, the result is absolute Chaos on the roads, as we have now.

    To avoid infrastructure chaos, roads and services should be built FIRST before the planned houses etc are built.

    • Hope
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Alan, LAs are required by law to provide 5 year land supply for development. The funding streams for infrastructure are through NHB and CIL with additional money from departments for major transport links. The Las are spending the money on ordinary staffing costs, vanity projects etc. Their hands should be forced.

      As we are all fully aware, this govt prefers an EU infrastructure project in HS2- £80 billion for one railway journey to save 30 minutes. It also prefers to give away tens of billions each year, literally tens of billions, on infrastructure through EU and overseas aid rather here at home. All the remaining looney tunes are fighting to keep this. We leavers had all the insults and still do.

      However, I suggest, Grieve, Soubry, Morgan and Clarke are thwarting the democratic will of the public to leave the EU. What did they ask to scrutinise of the Lisbon Treaty when it was waved through Parliament without debate? Why did these people not stand up for the public to say we were promised a referendum by labour and Cameron? They were ministers and MPs meant to represent ALL their constituents. Their specious comments to prevent Brexit should be seen for what they are. I am still at a loss why May has not taken the whip away from Clarke.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Ownership for everyone ?

    No, ownership for those who want it, and can afford it.

    Tony Blair had exactly the same thoughts with University education, the result a lot of unhappy people with useless degree’s and huge debts.

    If the Government want to encourage home ownership then simply scrap stamp duty and Revive MIRAS (with a mortgage limit) then almost everyone gets some benefit.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      “If the Government want to encourage home ownership then simply scrap stamp duty and Revive MIRAS (with a mortgage limit) then almost everyone gets some benefit.”

      They are far more interested in taxing until the pips squeak it seems. We do not need Morgage Interest Relief but stamp duty should go. Also the double interest tax on landlords (taxed on the landlord and the bank he pays it too) so tenants pay higher rents – this is grossly unfair to both.

      “the result a lot of unhappy people with useless degree’s and huge debts”
      Indeed and with delusions of grandeur, that their degrees from Bogner University in Women’s Studies or something (that cost them £50K plus loss of three years earnings) has much or indeed any value.

      Train them to do carpentry, brick laying, ground works, roofing, scaffolding, plumbing, electrics, drainage, heating, engineering, q/s work …..

    • Bob
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear Mr J.

    • getahead
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      The point is that many people do want their own house but houses are too expensive for the younger generation to get on the housing ladder. Building more houses will obviously make houses more available.

  9. Amanda
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Exactly right on the planning system Mr Redwood – that is just what is happening. So, why is the Chancellor talking about allowing building on Green Belt (what is it to do with him anyway?) The Green Belt was put there to ensure that there was urban regeneration, as well as stopping urban sprawl which is detrimental to wellbeing. The Government needs to tighten Green Belt exceptional circumstances, and continue to push for different business models for house building.

    It might also help if the number of people coming into the country needing houses was better controlled. You cannot fix the housing problem whilst demand is continuously rising. Nor, can you fix the problem whilst large ares of some Cities are allowed to become no-go areas of unicultural wasteland where even the Police do not go. You cannot expect Developers to build in or even near areas where your son might be killed or your daughter raped, or at the very least your property stolen and damaged !! The Tories need to get a grip on law and order and stop this nonsense with so called ‘hate crime’.

    So, that’s a change in Chancellor and Home Secretary at the very least.

    • Hope
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      How about controlling or stopping mass immigration? Migrant Watch produced very good statistical evidence to show where the problem is. It is alleged govt policy to cut to tens of thousands and has been for some years. Yet records reflect the highest amount of immigration in history! Our infrastructure crumbling, our armed forces cannot cope- last week the UK asked the US and Canada for help to search for a Russian submarine! Yet this govt is content to sends tens of billions abroad to help other countries infrastructure! It is outrageous.

    • mickc
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      The Greenbelt has become a green noose; whever a Council wishes to, it just redesignates the Green belt allowing urban sprawl but moving the Greenbelt further out to restrict small, necessary development in the country.
      For once, Hammond has come out with a good idea.

  10. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    O/T I listened to Ken Clarke yesterday and as usual batting for Brussels.
    He was very disingenuous to oppose putting a leaving date in the EU leave legislation.
    His point about it preventing Brussels from extending the talks after the Leave date was laughable.
    Of course the EU will want the talks to drag on indefinitely to keep the money coming in.
    etc ed

  11. Iain Gill
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    So you are going to free up planning, devalue current homes, concrete over the country, all to support much higher levels of immigration than the public want?

    Reply No, as you well know. I have often written about the new controlled migration policy we need once we have left the EU

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      There is nothing stopping the government significantly reducing immigration now and you well know it. There are countless examples of abuses going on for all to see. You would do better to side with the people, and against the rest of the political class on this one.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 16, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        They think we’re stupid and blind, Iain.

        The only thing to do is stop voting and stop paying the BBC.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      To prove that “new controlled migration ” is not just pie-in-the-sky, non-EU migration should be controlled right now. American bankers and Polish plumbers are not the problem, it is third world subsistence farmers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      We need quality only immigration we need to be “discriminating” on the basis of quality and needs.

      But T May has ruled out “a points based system” so we will have to use a merit or banana one!

    • Timaction
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      No need to wait for the majority of immigration from elsewhere. Very noticeable how we have a fast and growing population from the far east. They are not in the EU!

    • Hope
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      JR, it was said today freedom of movement would continue for certain industries i.e. Bankers. Is this true? We voted no more freedom of movement irrespective of industry. All can apply via visas like our citizens do for non EU countries.
      Reported as another Davis concession.

  12. agricola
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    A fanciful title. Yes there are problems at the supply end of housing, but the real problem is at the demand end. Migration Watch claim that 90% of houses created in the last ten years have a foreign born head of household. If they are only half correct you have an enormous root cause of the problem. With immigration running at a nett 300,000 plus or 600,000 plus gross there is little chance of there being affordable housing for the indigenous young. Until supply exceeds demand, housing will remain unaffordable.The same cause applies to health, education and the infrastructure in general. You are always going to play catch up because of failure through the evil of political correctness to recognise the cause.

  13. Original Richard
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    “Surveys show that many people would like to be able to buy their own home.”

    There is no amount of building of houses, schools, hospitals and infrastructure that can keep pace with current levels of immigration and population growth. Never mind the damage to social cohesion, the environment, productivity and national debt brought about by these current high rates.

    We have sufficient people in the country to be a viable nation and England, particularly London and the SE, is already the most densely populated major country in Europe. We’ve just learned that we will now start to have traffic lights on motorways.

    Surveys show that 77% of the population want to see immigration reduced with 56% wanting it reduced “a lot” and it is time that the government acted upon its election promise to reduce immigration to the “tens of thousands”.

    Allowing corporations to build on green belt land will not be a popular alternative to curbing immigration.

    • Bert Young
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Original Richard ( or is it Richard I ? ). Well said . The points you have made echo all the fears I have about an increasing population and the after effects .

  14. Christopher Hudson
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    People that criticised Theresa May when she said that she’ll step in when the market isn’t working how it should are mistaken to say that big companies whether in housebuildung or energy don’t game the system

    Just saying let the market decide depends on the notion pthat human beings are 100% honest 100% of the time

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      It is not the market that is not working it is planning laws, government red tape, daft employment laws, expensive energy, greencrap building regs, a lack of well trained builders, un-competitive banks and over taxation that are the problems – government once again is the problem.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      The housing market is working exactly the way a market it is expected to. It is in the interests of private housebuilders to keep supply below demand because that pushes up sale prices and reduces their build costs (building fewer homes requires less raw materials and less labour, allowing them to squeeze their suppliers), thus allowing them to increase margins at both ends and maximise their profits. The problem with this is that somewhere to live is not a discretionary purchase.

      To blame net immmigration as the cause of all the problems (as some have done) is misleading as it ignores the effect of natural population growth (births minus deaths), which ran at an average 199,000 between 2004 and 2016 (source: ONS official figures) and also demographic changes e.g. the increase in the number of single person households due to the changing nature of relationships, increased divorce rates etc.

      Calls to reduce net immigration ignores the fact that funding pensioners (state pensions, health care, social care etc.) requires a proportional working age tax base paying the taxes to do so. As the number of over 65s continues to increase, who will pay for their pensions and care? Growing our own tax base by increasing the birth rate has a close to 20 year lead time before those births become economically productive, longer if they are going in to jobs which require graduate-level skills.

      That leaves either increasing taxes or increasing the working age population through immigration as the only two routes to generate the required tax base. Anyone arguing for reduced immigration is, therefore, also arguing for higher taxation on working age people (or higher borrowing) as the money needs to come from somewhere.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    “Grandparents bad for grandchildren” on the BBC this morning.

    (You’ll never hear them say any other group is ‘bad’)

  16. Mick
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Off topic
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/879688/Brexit-date-bill-vote-Tory-rebel-MPs-Theresa-May-Labour-majority
    Who the hell do these MPs think they are, I’ll tell you there nobodies who think they can overturn the referendum result, and I am sick to the back teeth of them saying that they respect the result of the referendum NO they don’t, yes they apart from Clarke voted to invoke article 50 but knowing further down the line they will get the opportunity to stop or overturn Brexit, so don’t take us for the idiots you think we are, we are your boss as you will find out if because of your stupid childish playground antics you cause another General election, and it won’t be a open door for lab/snp/ libdims/greens/Plaid Cymru to take power because they will also be wiped out by pro- British anti eu parties especially up north and not the full of snowflake London

  17. JM
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    If planning permission has been granted on a site and remains extant, or if a start has been made on the permission, thereby securing it for all time, the numbers can be counted in a council’s housing supply figures. The problem is that in most areas of the country the objectively assessed housing requirement lags behind the number of sites available to meet it. Councils cannot demonstrate a 5 years’ supply of housing. Government policy in the form of the National Planning Policy Framework then presumes a balance in favour of the development in order to meet the Government’s objective of significantly boosting the supply of housing.

    History tells us that the only time the country has in fact built sufficient numbers of houses was when local authorities were allowed to build council houses. The mistake of the council house sell off policy was to prohibit local authorities from reinvesting that money in new housing. That is something that the Government can easily change.

  18. Ralph Hulbert
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Please reform the law to allow councils to buy land at agricultural prices, and then apply permission to build, thus making plot costs much smaller whilst giving councils some of the profit.

  19. Bob
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    The Tory Remains are undermining Britain’s negotiating position.
    I hope their constituents will remember that.

  20. Bert Young
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Housing and the related problems to it are a major consideration to the area where I live . The density of traffic , lack of school places , the inability of GP practices to cope , major hospitals having to delay and cancel operations and finding somewhere to park , are but a few of the consequences . I cannot see anyway out of this conundrum other than to limit population .

    When a house becomes available for purchase the high price and the required level of stamp duty are further deterrents to any buyer . The young are simply not able to get on the ladder ; instead they linger on with their parents . In nearby Oxford price levels now challenge London and has already attracted affluent Russian buyers .

    Hammond can do something to stimulate and encourage the economy, however if the result is more immigrants I shall despair .

  21. BOF
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    High levels of home ownership are desirable. People with a stake are less likely to support socialist parties. No doubt the main reason Tony Blair dismantled border control and opened the floodgates.

    The trouble is that mass immigration is simply not compatible with this aspiration and there is no possibility of house building keeping up with demand. Leaving the EU will help but it does not alter the fact that immigration from the rest of the world is also completely out of control. That makes two Home Secretaries in a row that have proved incompetent, with the current incumbent having misplaced migrants by the hundreds of thousands.

  22. agricola
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    While awaiting moderation of my views on housing, what game are the conservative remoaners playing. In denying the wishes of the people and their own government because of their love affair with the EU they could open the door to the Marxist left. A greater example of self indulgence it would be hard to find, all dressed in the technicalities and wording of the cancellation of the 1972 Bill of Accession. They are operating a smoke screen to cover their determination to stay in the EU. The Bill might not be worded perfectly to suit all tastes, but the risks they are running in it’s correction are unforgivable.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, congratulations on your excellent speech is an otherwise mediocre Commons debate yesterday. It has to be done but I can’t say that I view the next seven such sessions with much interest let alone enthusiasm.

    Then we will have those preening unelected windbags in the House of Lords having their destructive say at equally great length if not much longer.

    Including the one who made a hash of drafting Article 50 TEU but now tries to shift the blame onto Theresa May, for goodness sake, and the other one who very quickly laid out her plan to overturn the result of the referendum:

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/opinions/a-rebellion-in-the-lords-brexit-article-50-referendum

    “A rebellion in the Lords”

    “With no constituents to fear and a conviction that remaining in the EU and helping it reform would be a much better option than plunging into the unknown, they would defy the whip, which cannot inflict the same pain as it does in the Commons. The Lords would be resoundingly “not content” and could remain a blockage to the legislation for up to one year.

    Much might change in that time. The EU might even concede that the UK was not the only country which needed to see some curbs on free movement and make changes. Then their lordships might argue that there was a good reason to call that second referendum and hope for a very different result.”

    Once we are clear of the EEC/EC/EU/USE project we must address the problems with our national Parliament which contributed to getting us into it in the first place.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Incidentally I’ve just seen a Labour MP complaining that 64 hours of debate at the Committee stage is not enough. Perhaps she would prefer 640 hours, or 6400 hours … we know exactly what game these people are up to.

      And that includes some of the Tory rebels. For example if Dominic Grieve wanted to know why I support the government’s amendment to write the precise date and time of our withdrawal from the EU into the Act then he really need look no further than his own conduct as a dyed-in-the-wool eurofederalist, his blatant attempts to obstruct and delay and if possible prevent our withdrawal.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Now I see that same person openly confessing that he does not believe in the sovereignty of our national Parliament and deceitfully pretending that ministers would be able to change any of the retained EU-derived laws as they pleased without Parliament having any power to stop that.

        So what for example does this mean in Schedule 7?

        “A statutory instrument containing regulations under section 7 which contain provision falling within sub-paragraph (2) may not be made unless
        a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution
        of, each House of Parliament.”

        Has the expert lawyer and former Attorney-General Dominic Grieve QC really failed to notice that if a majority in either of the Houses of Parliament didn’t want a minister to just use a regulation to change some aspect of the law left over from our time in the EU, and instead they wanted it dealt with by full primary legislation, then they would only have to vote against the statutory instrument and stop it happening?

        Of course he knows that perfectly well, as do the Labour MPs proposing the related amendment which is presently under discussion.

        OK, if there were flaws in the detailed drafting of the Bill so that in some particular and important cases the minister really could act without any parliamentary process and in an undesirable way then critics could usefully highlight those defects and propose amendments to plug the gaps, but that is not what they are doing.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          Commons Hansard November 15th 2017 Column 400:

          https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-11-15/debates/7A700C0E-8BA2-4EEC-B53D-997028C06900/EuropeanUnion(Withdrawal)Bill#contribution-D2A3DCE1-0A05-48D8-A17B-599C0E7BA98C

          “I understand that that is why my hon. Friend thinks we should go. As he knows, I personally think that in the globalised world in which we operate, as we mentioned yesterday, the notion that the only source of law is likely to be the domestic Parliament of one’s country is rather fanciful, given that we are currently subordinate or have signed up cheerfully to all sorts of areas of international law without any difficulty at all. I accept, without wishing to go over old ground, that the way in which EU law operates in this country through its direct effect does pose some issues that have particularly exercised my hon. Friend the Member for Stone. Nevertheless, the idea that all sources of law in this country come from this House is wrong, full stop.”

  24. David
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Presumably we can agree its good to share our home planet with other species. In that case its not clear to me that its viable to continually increase the area used by ourselves. Its not just the concrete footprint of buildings but also the countryside is dominated by our agriculture and parks which are all detrimental to nature..

  25. Epikouros
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    In a round about way you have exposed the problem of not just problems of ownership but many other centralised planning and control items(a long list) as well. You have identified that having moved so much of the decision making that effects our finances, economy and society into the hands of government now decisions are predicated upon satisfying the needs of bureaucrats, politicians and big business and not consumers.

    Your argument that it is done to maximise the efficiency of infrastructure planning and thereby reduce costs and inconvenience does not hold water. As that is only necessary because the public sector if it dictates one then it has to dictate the other to minimise the confusion that central planning inherently causes. If instead consumers decided what they want and where and how etc., then producers will satisfy that demand considerably better than any bureaucrat more efficiently, more conveniently, more aesthetically and with less cost and without diminishing the democratic process. Of course that would necessitate government removing it’s sticky fingers from almost everything like, education, healthcare and so much more and removing great swathes of rules and regulations.

  26. Timaction
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Sorry Mr Redwood you and your colleagues are trying to treat one of the symptoms of your mass migration policy. Control immigration then you can plan the number of homes required, school places, health, all public service needs, congestion and overcrowding.(Supply v Demand).
    We have had 20 plus years of mass migration and a previous 30 years of immigration at lower but unwanted or needed levels. The reasons given are disingenuous.
    Now we are leaving the EU there is no need to try and stop us having feelings and beliefs of Nationality and sovereignty. So when is your party, Amber Rudd or Theresa May going to get a grip and DO something about the levels of immigration and remove those who are already illegally here? Your record to date is worse than Labour or what other label we put on the legacies in Westminster who in reality are “one and the same” who have pretended difference whilst imposing EU law and directives!
    There should be no taxation without representation and there are literally millions of us indigenous people who are unrepresented in the current system.

  27. Chris S
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    One of the problems is the preference for big developers !

    We should encourage more small developments where individuals can buy a plot and design and build their own home. We would then get some variety rather than identik houses with too small rooms and virtually no gardens or parking.

  28. David Cockburn
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Developers claim that they are building permitted developments slowly because they can’t sell houses faster than a certain rate. But that’s because they want to keep the price of houses high.
    The only solutions I can see is to require developers to either build themselves or sell the permitted plots for others to build on within a certain period.

  29. Peter K
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    The snowflake generation appears to believe that on leaving fulltime education they should be able to buy a house in an affluent location and enjoy a lifestyle of their choosing. The notion that one should invest in your own future through hard work to aspire to a better life later on seems to have been abandoned.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    An off-topic note, here is a list of the 70 worthless MPs who decided to defy the will of the British people as directly expressed in a referendum ordered by Parliament and so voted against repeal of the European Communities Act 1972:

    http://brexitcentral.com/70-mps-opposed-repeal-european-communities-act-1972/

  31. Ron Olden
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Today’s jobs and productivity figures contain evidence of the virtuous circle many of us predicted would arise when, as consequence of leaving the EU, the flood of unskilled migrants willing to work for a pittance subsides.

    We haven’t left yet, but the migration figures, especially amongst the low paid and unskilled, have already fallen sharply.

    The result is, fewer people working, jobs for anyone here who wants one, but higher productivity, and, in due course, higher wages, owing to the tighter labour market.

    The momentum (in the South East at least), is also being helped by the National Living Wage.

    So it’s higher wages, higher productivity, higher profits and more investment, but less claimed in Tax Credits and Housing Benefits.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41996505

  32. Peter Miller
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Local council planning departments are notorious enclaves of petty bureaucrat tyranny.

    Big developers mostly get their plans nodded through, as the councils do not want a legal fight – and costs – which they are likely to lose.

    But when Joe Public wants to do something, he gets frustrated at every turn. My experience includes a planning refusal, because it did not include a ‘reptile refuge’ – this is a small pile of logs, which rats are pleased to call home. The fact I do not have any newts or lizards on the property was an irrelevance.

    The cost of these bureaucrats to the economy must be horrendous.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Peter

      Much truth in what you say.

  33. ian
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Migration watch says, 90% of head of households formed in homes in the UK since 2005 to 2015 came from overseas, is that what mean by ownership for everyone.

  34. libertarian
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh please the housing issue is entirely caused by this woeful government

    1) Scrap the absolutely stupid stamp duty on homes

    2) Stop manipulating interest rates

    3) Allow tax free savings for first home deposits ( in lieu of MIRAS)

    4) Provide work from home incentives so that more people can take advantage of the large amount of lower cost homes outside the commutable zones

    5) Be radical why not allow your pension fund to invest in your own home ?

    The tax and regulatory systems in this country are almost always entirely to blame for market failures

  35. stred
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    The first planning law change when the coalition won was to stop building in backland, ie. in underused back gardens. There are many housing estates built, before the price of land went up, with space for housing. This could be designed with care so that overlooking and light problems are minimised. Single storey courtyard solutions are an example or underground stories and top lighting. But the government prefers building on the Green Belt or keeping prices too high and creating property-less Marxists.

  36. miami.mode
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Councils should encourage self-build projects and should perhaps even supply land for this. Self-builds are not generally built for a profit, essential for a developer, and during any recession there are always individuals who would have the money to self-build which would go some way to mitigating the disastrous effects on the building industry.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Miami.mode

      Agreed, when we built our own house over 30 years ago, self builders were constructing 20,000 houses a year between them.

      Not a clue how many it is now, but I would guess significantly less than then.

  37. ian
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    MPs in parliament will do everything they can to bring in more overseas people to live in the UK and make it a spending priority for taxpayers money/ while cutting back on infrastructure needed. Been at it for 60 years now and have been ramping it up every few years with 2015 being the highest on record, only dropping off now because of shortest of housing hence the big push now by all MPs for more housing with taxpayers money, and when they have finished, there will still be over 2 million people living in temp accommodation with news reports on the homeless.
    This is the subject that all MPs lie about all of the time.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Brexit was a scream against continued mass immigration.

      They’re still ignoring it.

      So what do we all do at the next general election ?

      We’ve tried everything and it’s failed. Pull the plug. The country’s (in trouble ed) anyway.

  38. Iain Moore
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Migration Watch have come up with some startling figures that exposes the impact immigration is having on housing demand.

    https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/424

  39. Pat
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    There is clearly a shortage of homes, evidenced by high purchase prices, high rents, and the vast number of twenty somethings still living with their parents.
    Doubtless many to most of these would prefer to buy rather than rent, at least eventually, but many prefer to rent ( if they only expect to stay in one place for a short time it is cheaper as transaction costs are low).
    Cutting immigration would help prevent the problem from worsening, but I see no real possibility of removing any significant number of those already here.
    Leave buy to let people alone- they supply accommodation to those who are mobile.
    Have a good hard look at the planning laws to see if any restrictions can be abolished, particularly in towns.
    Take a good hard look at sect 106 charges- after all the local council gains increased revenue from extra housing, and bear in mind it is not the developer but the housebuyer who is out of pocket.
    And remember, even if every new home were built in the green belt (the most extreme possibility I can think of) there would be most of the green belt untouched.
    The planning system has brought about a vast difference between the value of building land and other land. I think many local authorities are seeking to profit from this that they brought about. Let the developers have the profit and many more homes will be built, until eventually the price difference will erode away.
    Finally there is no possibility of bringing down house prices for new entrants that will not bring house prices down generally. Personally I’d rather live to see my grandchildren in their own accommodation than leave them a large inheritance to buy their own home when I’m gone.

  40. Chris
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    There is no way there can be ownership for everyone with the unsustainable pressures on housing by the unrelenting mass immigration that we are experiencing, and have experienced, over the last 10 years. The failure of the government to acknowledge the real cause of pressures on housing has been ably demonstrated by Migration Watch today.

    The repercussions of this failure means that the wrong solutions are being employed i.e. Simply building more houses, without tackling the root cause of the problem. This failure means that the sticking plaster “solution” will not meet the ever growing demand, the problem will continue to escalate, and a host of other problems will accompany this situation, including the concreting over of the green belt.

    https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/424
    The Impact of Immigration on Housing Demand in England
    “Conclusion:
    17. In the summary of their 2014-based household projections the DCLG claim that ‘net migration accounts for 37 per cent of projected household growth’. However, this is thoroughly misleading since it only accounts for growth due to future migration, ignoring the impact of the migrant population already present in the country. In fact, the data on the past ten years shows that 90% of additional households in England have been headed by someone born abroad.” (Dept of Communities and Local Govt)

  41. useful idiot
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think you’re on the dark side
    but maybe my judgement is faulty.
    Will be miffed if so.
    I chanced on this blog before Brexit and thought you seemed a worthy soul.
    Maybe there are only a handful of worthy souls in the whole world.
    It’s so easy ( for me ) to read people. I hope I haven’t read you wrongly.

  42. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Do you know Dr Redwood if the £5,000 business starter incentive is still available. Mr Cameron started this initiative I believe.

  43. John
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    There is a rush underway building on countryside around country villages that needs to be re examined.

    Whilst unemployment fell again we also saw the total number employed fall which means there could be the beginnings of a population decrease. We are in the midst of a building boom being supplied by workers from Eastern Europe who also need housing whilst they are here. What happens when they leave?

    I think we are over building and need to re examine the situation assuming many recent immigrants may well leave freeing up lots of dwellings.

  44. Freeborn John
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    If May agrees to pay the EU a penny for a standstill transition you will lose the next election by a historic margin. They will always demand more until a British government finally learns to say No to their extortion.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      It’s nonsense to even talk about a “standstill transition”.

      It’s only necessary to look up the definition of “transition” to see that.

      https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/transition

      Transition:

      “The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.”

      Not:

      “A period during which nothing changes from the original state or condition”

      There are words which describe the latter – “stasis”, or maybe “delay” – but not “transition”, and it is an oxymoron to talk about a “standstill transition”.

  45. Prigger
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    EU (Withdrawal ) Bill. Discussed in Parliament today. I am impressed by Raab and Letwin. Understandably at the time of typing many opponents found their utterances intricate and comprehensive. It was very pretty. A ballet made words.
    The Law however pretty or ugly does not exist outside Parliament. Not that I have personally witnessed. No respect for truth, justice and any law or even rule.
    So the nuances interminably hacked about in regard to the Amendments to the Bill are neither here nor there except as a prettiness for the ears of foreigners where their own Authorities are honest enough to admit they are a dictatorship and will interpret the “law” as they please. As here, or ignore, as here.

  46. ferdinand
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    You have identified the correct source of demand for housing – the wish to own. Of course councils have a demand from the homeless and properties could be council owned, but the majority of demand is for ownership of their present accommodation.There are other pressures but in general the prime demand is for ownership rather than new housing.

  47. Sue L
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Dear John

    Helping older generations downsize should surely help but the marginal cost to do so can be a deterrent – a large part of which is invariably stamp duty.

    If only stamp duty worked more like VAT. EG you paid extra as you traded up on the incremental increase in the value of your house but paid nothing or perhaps received a rebate if you traded down. This would also help those who find work in other parts of the country and need to move but would continue to raise the largest amounts from foreign purchasers.

    This could also delay the need for earlier social care where elderly people seek to downsize to bespoke residential accommodation which provided assisted living facilities or move to live near family members.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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