Published: 18th Dec 2013

‘Miliband pledges to target land hoarders to solve housing crisis’, announced the Guardian this week. ‘Use it, or lose it’ was the mantra from shadow ministers. The call is for radical solutions, including granting councils new powers to fine developers who sit on land with planning permission, or even to buy the land off them. We need ‘muscular action’ to get Britain building again, said Sir Michael Lyons, who chairs Labour’s housing review. But are house-builders and developers really sitting on acres of land ready for affordable new homes, and is land banking a major cause of the housing crisis and a constraint on local growth? An attack on land banking is an old chestnut with Labour. In December 2005 the Guardian headline was ‘Prescott challenges developers accused of hoarding housing land’. Labour housing ministers throughout the noughties made similar claims. Most have fallen on deaf ears, and all have … (To read the full article, subscribe below)