Theresa May has attempted to shift focus away from Brexit today as she delivered a speech on the state of the housing market in Britain.

She announced plans to penalise property developers who do not build homes quickly enough, urging the to “do their duty” to Britain. 

The PM also used her speech to address rising levels of homelessness in the UK, adding: “In 2018, in one of the world’s largest, strongest economies, nobody should be without a roof over their head.

“This isn’t just a British problem – in recent years homelessness has risen across Europe – but it is source of national shame nonetheless.”

Live Updates

10 mins ago

Councils must meet house-building targets or lose planning powers, Government says

Councils that fail to build enough homes will lose their right to determine where new houses are placed, according to plans set to be revealed by Theresa May. 
 
So-called “nimby” (“not in my back yard”) councils have been warned that the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government will be “breathing down [their] neck” to ensure home-building targets are met. An overhaul of planning laws will see the creation of new rules to give councils targets for how many homes they should build each year. 

21 mins ago

Sam Hall, Head of Research at the liberal conservative think tank Bright Blue, said there is a shortage of homes in Britain’s most popular areas, adding: “It is welcome therefore that the Prime Minister recognises the need to reform the planning system. The Government is right to allow homeowners to add extra storeys to their properties to increase density. They are also right to make the delivery of the planning system more effective and to make councils and developers more accountable.

“But the big omission was reforming the Green Belt. The Green Belt constrains the growth of Britain’s most successful cities by prohibiting new homes being built where people want to live. In some cases, Green Belt land is of low environmental quality and has poor public access. A way to address both these problems would be to permit developers to build on the Green Belt in areas where there is a housing shortage, but in return mandate them to improve the stock of natural capital in the local area, such as by planting new woodland or creating a park.”

29 mins ago

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, responding to Theresa May’s housing speech, said: “We’ve heard hand-wringing on housing from Theresa May before, but there’s nothing new here that will make a difference. After eight years of failure, it’s clear this Government has got no plan to fix the housing crisis. 

“Home-ownership has fallen to a thirty-year low, rough sleeping has more than doubled and the number of new homes built for social rent has fallen to the lowest level since records began.
 
“Only Labour has a long-term plan to build the genuinely affordable homes the country needs.”

30 mins ago

Theresa May responds to Donald Trump’s decision to raise steel tariffs

Theresa May has expressed the UK’s “deep concern” at Donald Trump’s decision to raise tariffs on steel and aluminium.
 
The Prime Minister raised the issue during a call with the US President on Sunday afternoon. Mr Trump has outlined plans to impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium.

56 mins ago

Here’s more on the PMs odd swipe at the BBC, from the Press Association: 

Theresa May aimed a sideswipe at the BBC for always asking her about Brexit.

Taking questions from the press after a speech on housing, the Prime Minister appeared irritated to be asked about the process of leaving the European Union.

She told the broadcaster’s chief political correspondent Vicki Young: “Being the BBC, of course you are always going to get Brexit into the question.”

The journalist had asked about concerns raised by the Confederation of British Industry about the financial services sector’s access to European markets.

Mrs May said she had set out her approach in last week’s Mansion House speech.

The Prime Minister said: “I was very clear that one of the elements that we will be looking at as part of our future economic partnership with the European Union is a partnership on financial services.

“Indeed we want to cover other service areas, these are important areas for the UK.

“The role that the CIty of London plays is not just important for us, it’s important for the whole of the European Union.”

1 hour ago

Interesting reaction here from the former Labour leader Ed Miliband on Theresa May’s speech.

1 hour ago

Baby boomers must pay more tax, says Tory peer

Baby boomers must pay to fund the spiralling costs of health and social care or risk inflicting crippling tax hikes on their children and grandchildren, Lord Willetts will warn in a major speech on Monday.
 
“The time has come when we boomers are going to have to reach into our own pockets,” the Tory peer and chair of the Resolution Foundation will say. “The alternative could be an extra 15p on the basic rate of tax, paid largely by our kids.”  

1 hour ago

Interesting poll him from the Tory peer Lord Ashcroft – among all voters Sadiq Khan appears to have the best ratings, closely followed by Jeremy Corbyn.

1 hour ago

This is from the Press Association on Leo Varadkar 

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has ruled out formal three-way talks between the UK, Ireland and the EU to look at the Theresa May’s Brexit offer.

Mr Varadkar said it was not in Ireland’s interests to take part in such talks regarding the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, and that what was needed was for Downing Street to produce more detailed proposals.

The comments came after the Prime Minister on Sunday suggested Mr Varadkar had agreed to form three-way talks to look at the Irish border element of the proposals she outlined on Friday.

Mrs May set out her strategy for negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU in a high-profile speech in London.

It will be put to the test this week as negotiations between British and European Union officials resume in Brussels.

The Irish PM said: “There won’t be tripartite or three-way talks.

“What will happen is that there will be talks between the EU 27 and the UK, and Ireland is part of the EU 27 and we’re much stronger by the way as one of 27.”

Mr Varadkar added consultations could take place between the two governments about issues that are unique to Ireland.

“We will of course have negotiations about what could be done to avoid a hard border, but what we won’t be getting into is a negotiation with the UK, or a three-way negotiation,” Mr Varadkar said.

1 hour ago

Senior Tories savage Theresa May’s plans to tackle the housing crisis: ‘Nonsense’

Senior Tories have poured scorn on Theresa May’s plans to tackle the housing crisis, warning they will fail to give Britain the homes it desperately needs.
 
A former housing minister and the Tory head of the Local Government Association (LGA) both warned “the nonsense will go on and nothing will change” unless the proposals are dramatically beefed up.

2 hours ago

This is the section from Theresa May’s speech on homelessness: 
 

Tackling homelessness

Just as Grenfell highlighted failings in parts of the housing sector, so the tragic deaths of rough sleepers have reminded us of the plight of those forced to live on the streets.

And let me take this opportunity to thank the thousands of council staff, charity workers, volunteers and members of the emergency services who have done so much to help rough sleepers during the recent cold weather.

In 2018, in one of the world’s largest, strongest economies, nobody should be without a roof over their head. This isn’t just a British problem – in recent years homelessness has risen across Europe – but it is source of national shame nonetheless.

That’s why we pledged in our manifesto to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027. We’ve already committed £1 billion to help bring this about, and are piloting the Housing First approach in three of our great cities to see how it can work in this country.

We’re also implementing the Homelessness Reduction Act, to help more people sooner.  We’ve changed the rules around funding so local government can use £400 million to help prevent homelessness, instead of just responding to it. And we’ve changed the law so councils can place families into private rented accommodation – meaning they get a safe, secure suitable place sooner.

But it’s not just about housing. Homeless people often have complex needs, so we’re taking unprecedented action across the board to help address them.

Here in London, 47 per cent of rough sleepers have mental health needs. That’s why we’re spending record levels on mental health support.

Forty four per cent need help to overcome alcoholism, so we’re spending around £200 million on treatment for alcoholism every year.

And 35 per cent need help for drug misuse, which is why our new Drug Strategy will protect the most vulnerable and help them turn their lives around.

There’s undoubtedly more to do. But we’re taking action that will make a real difference. 

Because this is a Government that isn’t afraid to uncover and face up to challenges. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with homelessness, and with the wider housing crisis.

 

2 hours ago

May is asked a question on Brexit by the BBC, to which she responds: “Being the BBC you always have to get a Brexit question in.”

2 hours ago

“The British dream is about each generation being better off than the last, but today’s young people are forced to spend three times more of their income on housing than was the case for their grandparents,” May says.

2 hours ago

May also says the concerns of Grenfell Tower residents are too similar. Renters should not be treated as lesser people, and subjected to poor treatment. 
 
She says the tragic death of rough sleepers highlight the plight of those who rough sleep… nobody should be sleeping rough in one of the world’s largest economies. 
 
She admits homelessness is a source of “national shame” 

2 hours ago

2 hours ago

May says she expects developers to do “their duty” to build more houses in Britain.
 
On the green belt, she adds: “The answer to our housing crisis does not lie in tearing up the Green Belt. Barely 13 per cent of this country is covered by such a designation, but it serves a valuable and very specific purpose”
 
She says green belts are there to prevent urban sprawls… adds that she wants to make better use of brown field sites. 
 

2 hours ago

2 hours ago

She says the Government is also taking action to help hard pressed buyers, such as scrapping stamp duty for first time buyers – announced at the autumn budget last year. 
 
May says, simply, we need to build more homes in Britain. 

“It is not just about having a roof over your head but having a stake in your community and its future. All that is put at risk by the mismatch between housing supply and housing demand and the soaring prices that have resulted”

 
 

2 hours ago

May says: “In much of the country, housing is so unaffordable that millions of ppl who would reasonably expect to buy their own home are unable to do so…The root cause of the crisis is simple. For decades this country has failed to build enough of the right homes in the right places”

2 hours ago

Theresa May is now up. She says people are struggling to rent.
 
She says people – particularly younger people – are angry at the price of housing and rent. May says it was raised on the doorstep during the general election camapign. “They are right to be angry,” she says.

Load more