Tories ‘bailing out developer mates with section 106 change’
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government
Fresh faces to drive forward Government's housing and planning agenda
New planning minister Nick Boles has been quizzed on alleged public feeling that the Government is “bailing out developers which have sponsored and funded the Conservative party” by allowing them to renegotiate affordable housing requirements in section 106s.
He was quizzed yesterday alongside new housing minister Mark Prisk by the Communities and Local Government committee on last month's housing stimulus which includes the waiving of affordable housing on stalled sites if developers can prove it is making schemes unviable.
Committee member Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, asked the minister: “The developer community have sponsored and funded your political party, the Conservatives, in a big way. People out there think that’s why you were bailing out developers who have paid inflated prices for land. What would you say to that?
Mr Boles said that like Labour, the Conservatives believe housebuilding has been too low for a very long time. He said: “The only people who are going to build houses are housebuilders and the only people who are going to pay to build houses are developers and housing associations. Of course they have a profit interest – all private companies do have a profit interest, but it doesn’t mean that they aren't also doing a social good by building houses.”
The MP for Grantham and Stamford said nobody gets housed by a section 106 agreement. He said: “No-one can keep the rain out by waiving that piece of paper. You only get housed, you only keep the rain out by having a roof over your head and you only build a house if it’s economically viable to do so. The same would apply to housing associations - they can’t build houses if it’s not economically viable for them to do so. The same applies to developers. So we are trying to get houses built which, I believe, is what our responsibility is – not to worry too much about whether someone is making a profit by building them.”
Mr Danczuk said developers are making a profit and that the public believes the Government, by allowing them to renegotiate section 106 monies, was attempting to “help your mates who have sponsored your political party”.
Mr Boles said: “Well, I say Mr Danczuk, that you might think that - you may think the public thinks that - but nobody’s written to me to suggest so; nobody has shown me an opinion poll to think that’s the case. If you would like to provide the evidence, I would be happy to write to every single member of the public to explain to them that houses get built by people who have an interest to build them – that can be housing associations and it can be private developers and I welcome all housebuilding whatever the motive.”