CLA calls for action to end housing crisis threatening rural economy

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Urgent action is needed to resolve the housing crisis that is threatening the health of the rural economy, according to a major new CLA policy document.

The ‘Tackling the Housing Crisis in England’ report is published against a backdrop of an annual shortfall in housing supply of more than 230,000 homes a year – a situation which CLA members are in a position to help change.

The document looks at what needs to be done to resolve the shortage, sets out CLA policy on housing for the next five years, and calls on the Government and local authorities to deliver much-needed change.

CLA East Regional Director Nicola Currie says the lack of ability to bring land forward for housing development has been a key factor behind long-term housing undersupply. She said: “Housing growth drives economic growth and we understand the importance of providing more homes for people living and working in rural communities.

“It is essential that we have more housing in rural areas, particularly housing that is affordable for young families so that they can live in the area in which they work. Keeping young families in our villages ensures they stay alive and thriving, supporting facilities such as schools along with the local economy.”

The CLA not only wants to see more homes for rural economy workers, but also wants increased provision of retirement homes so older people can pass farm holdings on to the next generation. “This would help clear the tenancy logjam that is hampering the future of farming,” said Mrs Currie.

There is also a call for changes to taxation law so that incentives are provided for landlords who let homes at below-market rents, and to encourage landlords to build new market-rented accommodation. The CLA is also suggesting that VAT should not be levied on self-build units or on non-domestic buildings that are converted into new homes.

A new requirement is also being sought by the CLA that would oblige local planning authorities to provide up-to-date and fully justified evidence for not allocating housing development land in certain designated areas. “It is also important to cut planning red tape and ensure good guidance and consistent advice is given by all planning authorities,” she said.

Mrs Currie added: “Our recommendations reflect a world where you no longer have to live in an urban location to work effectively and we argue that, in conjunction with improvements to transport policy and rural broadband delivery, our proposals will actually help level development land values not just across the eastern region, but across the country.”

A full copy of Tackling the Housing Crisis in England can be accessed here: http://www.cla.org.uk/sites/default/files/CLA_Housing_Report_England_2014.pdf