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Thinktank calls for new homes incentives

Builders should be given new powers to offer cash incentives to local people in order to win their backing for the construction of new homes in areas of high demand, a thinktank has said.

The proposal forms part of a package of recommendations from the Policy Exchange, which called for a “radical overhaul” of housing policy.

It said that between 1995 and last year, the average price of a home more than doubled in real terms from £72,659 to £160,000 – and the proportion of people who own property is now falling for the first time since the end of World War I.

Rising prices also push up the cost of rent and since 1997, the cost of housing benefit to taxpayers has risen by £8 billion a year.

To address this situation, Policy Exchange called on the government to introduce an “explicit policy” of stabilising property values by substantially increasing the supply of new dwellings.

In areas of high demand, local people would vote on planned schemes, with developers able to offer incentives to encourage approval.

Housing minister Grant Shapps has already proposed a Right to Build, which would allow rural communities to bypass the planning process for new housing if a project won the backing of at least 90 per cent of local people.

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