Give housing developers ‘shot in the arm’ over council tax, says John Penrose

Housing developers should be given an “enormous shot in the arm” and charged council tax and business rates as soon as planning permission is granted, a Tory former minister has urged.

John Penrose told MPs “the meter should start running” immediately after developers are granted permission in order to ramp up house building.

Statistics from the National House Building Council (NHBC) revealed last month the number of new houses registered to be built in the first three months of the year had fallen by 14% – the worst percentage fall in one three month period since 2012.

Mr Penrose, speaking in a Commons debate on house building, said: “To get developers building faster, councils should be able to charge business rates and council taxes starting from the day that planning permission is granted rather than when developers finally get round to start building.

“We could give big developers a few months’ grace till they get their crews on site but then the meter should start running so they would have a huge incentive to build and sell promptly rather than taking their time.”

He added: “Equally and importantly the same forces would apply to the hedge funds that own derelict brownfield land in town and city centres too.

“These sites already have old, unused permission so the clock would start ticking immediately. Just think of the enormous shot in the arm, the jolt of adrenaline we’d give to urban regeneration projects everywhere right across the country if the owners couldn’t sit on them for years any more waiting for something to turn up.”

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