“MPs urge scrapping of tax on empty property”:

Gordon Brown is coming under pressure from his own backbenchers to scrap a tax on empty property, which is blamed for the demolition of buildings that developers cannot sell.

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“Rents hit by surge in supply of homes”:

Residential rents fell for the first time since April 2003 in the three months to October as the supply of properties to let surged, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The Rics [sic] said that the rising supply reflected the numbers of homeowners unwilling or unable to sell in the current market choosing to become landlords.

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“Warning of huge drop in social housing”:

There will be a “catastrophic” collapse in provision of new social housing at a time of record waiting lists without urgent intervention by the government, housing associations have warned.

Britain’s 1,900 social landlords, which own half the UK’s stock of 4m council houses, are urging ministers to change the way they are funded to prevent the supply of new, affordable housing drying up completely.

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And I heard tonight how elected councils can lose their planning powers to unelected Regional Development Agencies if they fail to meet centrally-imposed targets, perhaps because they are concerned about adequate infrastructure or sufficient local employment. Something is going quite wrong in housing…

The Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps MP, is on the case, founding the Conservative Homelessness Foundation and leading thinking on the subject. More at conservatives.com and on Grant’s site.

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