25 years ago
The Department of the Environment was planning to end public provision of legal sites for travellers while making camping on roads and common land illegal.
Critics said the plans, outlined in a consultation paper, would take away travellers’ rights to a nomadic lifestyle and lead to an increase in homelessness.
The paper argued that local authorities should cease to have a duty to provide sites for the travellers regularly residing in their areas.
Central government grants, which have covered the cost of providing but not running sites since 1978, would not be given for new site applications. Authorities which closed sites would have to repay grants.
The regime, introduced in the Caravan Sites Act 1968, had produced places on local authority sites for 6,000 caravans.
15 years ago
A wish list of radical reforms that could enable the government to increase the volume of affordable housing supply had been drawn up on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).
A research paper by academics at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Land Economy highlighted a string of reforms to the Treasury’s tax and spend policies in a bid to increase affordable housing provision.
It was understood that the paper could be used by the ODPM in its negotiations with the Treasury over spending cash.
The paper suggested tax incentives for organisations involved in affordable housing construction; increased revenues for schemes such as the Starter Home Initiative; tax relief for employers that agreed to set up savings schemes for first-time buyers; policies aimed at making it more tax efficient for employers playing a direct role in assisting their workers; and a reduction in the VAT paid by registered social landlords renovating affordable housing.
Liz Willis, policy officer at the National Housing Federation, welcomed the fact that the government was looking into reform.
Five years ago
Major changes to the planning system were needed in a bid to stimulate investment in private rented housing, an influential government-commissioned review found.
Sir Adrian Montague’s review into overcoming the barriers to institutional investment in the private rented sector laid out a number of recommendations in a bid to boost housing supply and stimulate the wider economy.
However, there were fears that the proposals could lead to a reduction in the level of affordable housing offered by developers under Section 106 agreements.
Recommendations from the independent report included encouraging flexibility from councils on planning obligations, injecting government cash to get schemes built more quickly and offering public land for private rented schemes.