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Better Homes: The Localist SolutionSir Bob KerslakeKent Housing Forum Permanent Secretary Department for Communities and Local Government Tuesday 17 May 2011
Making localism a reality • Localism so far • How we are making it happen • The housing challenge • How DCLG is organised to support localism • Conclusions
Localism, Localism, Localism • “A massive power shift is going on here. Localism is no longer a dirty word – it's the only show in town.” • “In a relatively short period, councils will be almost unrecognisable from today. Much stronger, more dynamic, more powerful. With political autonomy and financial independence. And with a much more direct, responsive, relationship to residents.” • “Through localism, we are putting power, responsibility and accountability back in the hands of people who know what they are doing.” • Eric Pickles MP
Terminology… Is the ethos… Doing everything at the lowest possible level and only involving central government if absolutely necessary Localism Is the process… Giving away power to individuals, professionals, communities and local institutions Decentralisation Is the vision… • A society where people, neighbourhoods and communities have more power and responsibility and use it to create better services and outcomes. Big Society
The six essential actions for decentralisation Decentralisation: giving power back to people and communities Big Government Big Society
Exemplifying the six actions General power of competence Community right to buy Neighbour-hood plans Council tax referendums Community Infrastructure Levy Right to challenge Community right to buy Local government pay accountability Abolish Regional Strategies Abolish Standards Board regime Local referendums Elected mayors
The Housing Challenge • Levels of supply are still around half of what they were prior to the downturn • Problems accessing mortgages • Housing affordability for first time buyers • Funding of enabling infrastructure • Access to land and planning permission in high demand areas • Implementation of the new Affordable Rent model
Localism Bill – planning and housing • Abolition of Regional Strategies – away from top down targets • Introduction of neighbourhood plans • Community right to build • Reformed community infrastructure levy • Duty to co-operate • Social housing reforms
Growth Review –Land disposal, planning reforms • Build Now Pay Later – HCA announced first sites where housebuilders pay for the land after they have started work on the new homes • Pilot land auctions, and removing national target on previously developed land • Planning reform – Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development, reforming National Planning Policy Framework • Clearer role for business: Neighbourhood Plans (in the Bill) and Neighbourhood Development Orders
Budget announcements – Homes and property FirstBuy – £210m to support first time buyers & maintain capacity in house-building industry Will assist 10,000 households with equity investments Jointly funded with house-builders Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme – extended temporary changes to SMI for a further year Reform Stamp Duty on bulk purchases – reduce barrier to investment in residential property • Real Estate Investment Trusts – easier to set up and more accessible to investors to encourage investment in PRS
The local growth challenge “Localities are best placed to understand drivers and barriers to local growth - localities should lead their own development to release their economic potential.” Local Growth White Paper • Localities are key to driving economic growth – all sectors working together • Local Enterprise Partnerships reflect natural economic geographies – 31 LEPs covering over 87% of England’s population, 1.8m businesses, 20m employees • Resource review will give incentive for growth and enable local authorities to be more self-sufficient
The Kent picture • Kent County Council largest non-metropolitan local authority in England – resident population 1.4m and growing • Kent and Medway – area of economic growth • North Kent districts (Dartford, Gravesham & Swale) working with Medway unitary to deliver jobs and housing in Thames Gateway • Kent, Greater Essex, East Sussex LEP – estimated population of 3.9m, employing 1.5m people • Ashford growth area – ambitious growth plan • Kent Forum have developed a clear Housing Strategy linked to growth
Future role and shape of DCLG • Drive the transfer of power and funding away from Whitehall to people and communities: localism, decentralisation and the Big Society • Create – through its core policy responsibilities – the conditions which re-energise and empower individuals and communities to build successful neighbourhoods • Smaller, stronger, more strategic
Conclusion • Government’s housing and localism plans go hand in hand • The new model creates positive incentives for local authorities to drive growth • The key to success – a strong strategy and effective collaboration