Coalition minister wants to 'give land to young people'

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Nov 28 01:10:05 GMT 2013

Coalition minister wants to give land to young to build own homes
Planning minister Nick Boles puts case for 
self-build scheme to help meet needs of 'Generation Rent'
Patrick Wintour, political editor  The Guardian, 
Friday 22 November 2013 22.00 GMT

Young people who cannot afford to buy somewhere 
to live should be handed plots of state-owned 
land so they can build homes of their own, the 
planning minister, Nick Boles, has suggested.
The idea is in the development stage of coalition 
policy and Boles is giving it extra impetus, 
declaring that young Britons want "the 
opportunity to get on and help themselves".
Housebuilding remains at very low levels even 
though there has been an upturn in the past three 
months. The coalition is acutely aware that it 
needs to find a way to assure the so-called 
Generation Rent that, if they want, they will be 
able to purchase or custom-build a home of their own.
Boles is proposing that, instead of renting in 
the open market or applying for council housing, 
young people should be able to "put yourself on 
the list for self-build". The list would run in 
parallel with the council house waiting list.
Recent moves to relax planning controls have been 
highly controversial with many Conservative 
supporters, but Boles suggested that the 
government should "go even further" to enable 
young people to own their own homes.
He said: "A liberal planning policy is one in 
which you say to people, if you own a home and 
you want to do something reasonable to change it 
or extend it, you should be able to do so, 
without bureaucrats and politicians getting in 
the way, and that is something we have done."
He added: "I think we might want to go even 
further ... We should think about saying, if you 
can't buy a home then you should be able to get a 
plot and to be able to build yourself a home if 
you want one – put yourself on the list for self-build."
Boles caused controversy earlier this week when 
speaking at a Conservative thinktank by raising 
concerns that Tories were seen by many young 
voters as "aliens". He set out his plans for self-build at the same meeting.
He said many elderly Conservatives were desperate 
to find a way to persuade young people to vote 
for the party and suggested that reforming 
planning laws to let people build their own homes 
was one way of reaching out to these younger voters.
"There are empowering liberal reforms to planning 
that we can make, that fit with this generation," 
he said. "They don't want help, they just want to 
be given the opportunity to get on and help 
themselves. We have got to help them."
The government has so far set aside 12 plots for 
self-build on public land, and Boles would like to see the programme expanded.
Official statistics this week showed housing 
starts over the past 12 months increased by 16% 
on the year before, rising from 101,280 to 117,110.
The 32,230 homes on which construction started 
between July and September this year represent 
the fastest rate of house-building since 2008.

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