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Letwin’s vision is impressive but he has ducked the big question

29 October 2018

Sir Oliver Letwin’s proposals for speeding up build-out rates are ambitious in their intent but curiously fail to address a substantial difficulty that could ultimately prove their undoing. His final report was published alongside the Budget today. The ambition lies in a vision of a more muscular planning system in which local authorities are encouraged… [Read More]


The viability challenge: how will the government’s planning reforms affect the delivery of affordable housing?

2 May 2018

When Theresa May announced the government’s latest planning reforms in March, one of her most strident criticisms was of ‘unscrupulous developers’ who ‘dodge their obligation to build homes local people can afford’. In her sights was the gaming of the planning system to negotiate down private-sector contributions to affordable housing as a condition of the… [Read More]


A national investment bank could address the UK’s productivity problem

16 February 2018

As much as the impact of Brexit on growth is the focus of debate at the moment, the UK’s disastrous productivity growth and persistently low levels of investment pose a much bigger on-going threat to our economy. Indeed, the IMF notes this week that ‘over the medium term, growth prospects [in the UK] will depend… [Read More]


Rising household debt – should we be worried?

13 February 2018

A decade on from the financial crisis, household debt relative to income is almost as high as it has ever been. After several years of deleveraging, since 2015 mortgage lending and especially consumer credit have begun to rise again. The debt-to-income ratio reached 138 per cent at the end of last year. This is lower… [Read More]


The contradiction in the government’s housing policy

22 October 2017

Sajid Javid made some encouraging noises on the Andrew Marr Show today but, as well as the constant disconnect between the briefing and the substance in this particular policy area, there remains a contradiction in the government’s approach to housing that remains troubling. On the plus side, he sounds more ambitious than ever in terms… [Read More]


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