“One of the country’s top property developers has described the UK’s system of funding social housing as “nuts” and called for higher taxes to speed up building.
Roger Madelin, a member of the executive committee at British Land, told the Guardian the decades-old system of getting private developers to pay for affordable homes was “a stupid way of meeting this social need” and that the government should directly fund them.
“All companies should pay higher corporation tax,” he said. “This country needs to have more tax paid. If we did it like that we could get on and do it. It can’t work in the long term, you can’t expect developers to continue to produce for the population’s social needs at this level. It should come from general taxation.”
Madelin’s suggestion will raise eyebrows in the notoriously profit-driven property industry as it implies increased taxes on its profits. But he is a respected figure who led the regeneration of King’s Cross in London as well as Brindley place in Birmingham and his remarks reflect growing frustration that the system is not only failing to deliver enough cheap housing, it is also a drag on development.
He made his proposal as British Land submitted one of the UK’s largest planning applications for a £3bn regeneration of Surrey Quays in east London, with 3,000 homes, up to six skyscrapers and several new corporate headquarters on a site stretching across 53 acres – similar in size to the regeneration of King’s Cross. It is located about a 20 minutes’ tube journey from the City of London, between Shoreditch and Peckham, two rapidly gentrifying areas, on the London overground line. Some 35,000 people already live in the Rotherhithe peninsula, where the development will take place. …
Madelin believes that by avoiding the current haggling between council officers and developers about how much they should contribute to affordable homes, the government could regain control of how much and when much-needed affordable housing could be built.
“I find it nonsensical that we go through these viability assessments,” he said. ‘If you have a shortage of cars then you wouldn’t get motor manufacturers to subsidise people who can’t afford a decent car.” …”