§ 16. Sir Gilbert Longden
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will issue a directive to all planning authorities that, until further notice, no planning permission to develop land for housing shall be granted unless it contains a condition that the applicant shall sell it at a price which allows him to obtain no more than a reasonable profit on the original cost of land to him.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Keith Speed)
No, Sir. The main way of tackling the problem of land prices is to increase land supply.
§ Sir Gilbert Longden
Is my hon. Friend aware that the suggestion in my Question is intended as a spur to the Government to face up to this modern phenomenon of exorbitant property prices which has become a scandal and an offence to all right-thinking people?
§ Mr. Speed
Yes, I certainly accept that that there was much that needed to be done in the situation of land prices in 1969, for example. The package of measures announced by my right hon. Friend last April and the fact that in the private sector housing starts last year were 26 per cent. up on 1970 and are running at record levels this year must be remembered. We are certainly not complacent and we have certainly not closed the door to further measures if they are needed.
§ Mr. Crosland
The Government need not a spur but a whip. Are we to take it as a final statement of Government 1715 policy that after all the rise in prices over the last few months they still have no policy for land prices other than the minor tinkering policies announced by the Secretary of State in April?
§ Mr. Speed
For the right hon. Gentleman to describe the policies and the considerable package announced in April—totalling £80 million—and the other measures as minor policies is a bit much. If the right hon. Gentleman had listened to my answer he would have heard me say that we have not closed the door to any further policy if and when it may be needed. The fact remains that in the private sector starts were running last year at a record level of 26 per cent. over the levels of 1970.