Housing developers are costing South East local authorities £98M a year in lost council tax through slow delivery once planning permission has been granted according to South East England Councils (SEEC).
SEEC claims in its Autumn Statement representation to the Treasury that the councils lack the powers to encourage faster delivery through incentives. This has resulted in stagnation in growth, increasing the housing deficit and hitting the councils’ capacity to fund local services and invest in infrastructure.
The figure of £98.5M is calculated from the assumption of 66,751 unbuilt homes being completed and their occupiers paying the average South East band D council tax of £1,475.
Cllr Nicolas Heslop, SEEC Chairman said the region was experiencing “great pressures” pressures and blamed developers for failing to keep up with demand, despite councils approving tens of thousands more homes.
He said: “In 2014-15 the South East saw England’s highest growth in housing stock at 28,360 but at the end of the same year we also had a backlog of 66,751 homes approved but not built. South East local authorities need new discretionary powers to unlock these housing sites.”
SEEC’s Autumn Statement also called for continued government investment in high-return infrastructure projects to unlock further housing and economic growth in the area.
Pressure on social care services from the South East’s rising elderly population was highlighted in the report, as was the need for significant extra transport investment in the region to support a new runway.
Roy Perry, SEEC Deputy Chairman, commented: “Over the 10 years to 2012 the South East paid £80bn more in taxes than it received in Government funding and this surplus finances public spending UK-wide.
“We fully support raising economic performance in other parts of the country but this must happen alongside continued investment in South East success. The South East’s excellent return on investment and its ability to fund public spending nationwide – now and post Brexit – will suffer if its economy is starved of investment.”
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