Penny Mordaunt says she would abandon housing targets if she wins leadership race

“I will change the system. I will champion a brownfield building boom”

Dominic McGrath
Monday 18 July 2022 23:21 BST
<p>Tory leadership contender Penny Mordaunt </p>

Tory leadership contender Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt would ditch housing targets if she enters Downing Street, saying they have been “tested to destruction”.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss, who remains behind Ms Mordaunt in the race to become the next Tory leader, has already hit out at so-called “Stalinist” housing targets.

Ms Mordaunt used a piece in the Daily Telegraph to claim that the current government house-building policy is “not working” and is trapped in a “broken pattern”.

She wrote: “I will change the system. I will champion a brownfield building boom, and do more to protect precious greenfields.

“We will build better, and we will do it using incentives, infrastructure, investment and innovation.

“To start with incentives, it’s important to realise that mandatory housing targets for councils don’t work.

“It is an idea that has been tested to destruction over many years, and it’s time to face the fact that they’ve been a failure everywhere. So we will abolish housebuilding targets and replace them with incentives.”

Ms Mordaunt, who is vying to retain her lead against Ms Truss and Kemi Badenoch in the fourth ballot of Tory MPs on Tuesday, promises to extend development rights to allow “build up not out” in urban areas.

She also pledges to “stop land banking and speed up building for sites that already have planning permissions, especially brownfield sites”.

She added: “There are thousands of unbuilt sites all over the country waiting for construction to start. My priority will be to scrap the bureaucracy that prevents shovels from getting into the ground.”

One solution she proposes would see the creation of development corporations, described as “potentially new towns”.

“They will create jobs and homes – especially for young and first-time buyers – and regenerate city and town centres throughout the UK. We’ll cut red tape to do so,” she said.

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