Cash incentives could boost housing stock, says report

Housing developers should be allowed to offer "very substantial" cash incentives to win the support of residents for new construction projects in their neighbourhoods, a Conservative-leaning think-tank report suggests today.

The Policy Exchange report said that decisions on new housing should be made by a ballot of affected residents, taking the decision out of the hands of council planners and preventing a vocal minority from blocking developments which are supported by the majority.

The proposal is one of a number of ideas designed to increase the supply of homes and stabilise property prices, to reverse a "housing crisis" which has led to swollen waiting lists for social homes and excluded many would-be first-time buyers from the market.

The think-tank said that its proposed overhaul of housing policy could save taxpayers £20bn a year, principally by bringing down the cost of housing benefit and making it easier for social tenants to find work.

The report called for the Government to prevent the kind of inflation seen in the last decade, with the goal of ensuring that all working families should be able to afford a decent home by 2030.