The Government should give local authorities the power to impose tariffs on developers to provide cash for more affordable housing, according to the leader of Westminster City Council.
In a speech entitled Housing a City for All, Cllr Nickie Aiken urged Whitehall to allow councils to institute ‘a locally-set charge paid on net increases in floor space’.
This would allow the council to charge developers to help ease the burden they place on local infrastructure, he said. It would also help raise funds for affordable housing.
Cllr Aiken compared the scheme to the the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and section 106 planning obligations which contribute towards the creation of sustainable communities and mitigate the negative aspects of developments.
However, she said the new levy would be ‘applied to all development rather than just residential, as is largely the case with section 106.’
‘The process for setting a tariff will allow a public dialogue between local authorities, local people and developers about the housing need of an area and how it should be met,’ Cllr Aiken said.
‘This would have the certainty and speed of CIL, but instead of money it would deliver affordable homes.’
The Westminster leader also called for greater flexibility for council borrowing and spending in relation to housing.
‘Councils could significantly speed up the delivery of affordable housing if the Government gave us the chance to operate in a more flexible fashion,’ she said.
She also said local authorities should be allowed to ‘break the chains’ on borrowing against the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and have more flexibility in spending right to buy receipts.