UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to face resistance from nearly 50 MPs demanding an end to the government’s housebuilding targets for councils through an amendment that campaigners say would pose a problem in affordable housing.
Around 47 Tory rank-and-file backbenchers have gone ahead to push for an amendment to the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill seeking to ban the imposition on local councils of mandatory housebuilding targets. The bill will be discussed in the House of Commons on Wednesday, and a vote on the same is expected next Monday.
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Sunak, who has a working majority of 69, is likely to face defeat if Labour and other opposition parties end up supporting the rebels. The government will call for support on the bill on Monday amid conflict with rebels while promising to look into their concerns. However, officially ministers say the vote has been delayed because of time pressures from the finance bill, reported the Guardian.
What’s the proposed amendment?
The proposed amendment to the bill was one of several put forward by Former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers. It aimed at scrapping mandatory local housing targets and making them advisory only.
The amendment seeks to abolish the five-year land supply rule, which determines if enough sites are allocated for development to provide five years’ worth of housing. If not, developers can submit applications for land that has not been allocated for housebuilding.
The current bill was introduced to Parliament in May when Johnson was still premier.
The Tories offered to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, but efforts by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to initiate a planning policy for ramping up of housebuilding foundered amid divisions in his party, which blamed the plans in part for defeat in a key special election last year. Construction started on almost 206,000 new dwellings in 2021-22, according to Office for National Statistics data.