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ED MILIBAND pledged last week to build one million homes if Labour are elected; that’s 200,000 homes per year. I
n August the Local Government Association published the results of a study it commissioned for England and Wales, for housing planning permissions, with the following key findings: 1 Sites with planning consent for 381,390 homes were unbuilt, with 61 per cent of the sites not started 2.
The average time for sites to be built to completion is 27 months, after receiving planning 3 In 2012/13, planning permission was granted for 165,903 homes. If completions and planning consents remain at current levels and housebuilders do not start building all their stalled sites, Labour will need to do more than use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to make developers forfeit the land they are sitting on to achieve the homes they are pledging.
They would need to increase planning consents to about 190,000 per year and maintain this. Some private housebuilders will be forced out of business, and many others will be deterred from increasing activity if CPOs are used, so how on earth will Miliband achieve his objective? I don’t think Labour has thought this through, and I wait to see the detail.
Paul S Cordock, Durlston Drive, Strensall, York.
• ED MILIBAND promises to freeze energy bills for 20 months if and when he attains leadership of the Government.
Consider these facts: in 2011 when gas bills rose by 21 per cent, the consequential VAT of five per cent netted the Government about £200 million.
Whenever the price of energy increases so does the Government’s income from VAT.
Presumably, the Labour leader has taken into account this loss of VAT if energy costs do not rise.
Since the proposal appears to accept a loss of VAT, a simpler way to please future voters would be to lower the VAT on energy from five per cent to four per cent, which is the lowest VAT can be reduced to within EU regulations.
That would go towards reducing the cost of living and not threaten discord between the Government and the energy companies, many of which are owned by other than British companies.
J Beisly, Osprey Close, York.
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