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Can UK Politicians Force Owners to Develop Fallow Properties?

Britain's opposition Labour Party is promising to tackle the country's housing crisis as a centerpiece of its next election campaign. A proposed “use it or lose it” law aimed at forcing developers to build on fallow land is causing controversy.
October 8, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"In a recent speech, Labour leader Ed Milliband promised that if elected, his party would give local authorities the right to fine developers who sit on unused land while waiting for its value to rise, rather than build on it," writes Feargus O'Sullivan. "In extreme cases, he would even grant compulsory purchase powers to forcibly take the land out of the owners’ idle hands."

"Across the UK, planning permission has been granted for 400,000 homes that haven’t been built," he notes. "The number of completed dwellings is at a 50-year low – at least – at just over 135,000 in 2012-2013, compared to 330,000 dwellings 40 years ago." The result is a nationwide housing shortage accompanied by skyrocketing prices. 

"Developers nonetheless insist that they’re not to blame for the housing shortage, and have questioned the logic of Milliband’s claims," adds O'Sullivan.

Of note: Milliband also indicated in his speech to the Labour party’s conference last month that his "road map" for tackling the housing shortage "will include another generation of new towns and garden cities," reports Andrew Grice.

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Published on Friday, October 4, 2013 in Next City
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