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Housing not on National Infrastructure Commission agenda

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The government’s new National Infrastructure Commission, announced Monday, will not have a remit covering large-scale housing development.

Speaking at the Conservative Party annual conference, chancellor George Osborne yesterday said that the new commission – originally proposed by the Labour Party – would start work immediately.

But, under its newly appointed chief Lord Adonis, the NIC’s role will stop short of the original Labour proposal to use it in helping deliver big housing schemes.

Osborne said that the body would have an initial focus on connecting Northern cities, large-scale investment in public transport in London, and ensuring energy infrastructure can meet demand.

It will also begin work on a national infrastructure assessment, looking ahead to requirements for the next 30 years.

The announcement of the commission had raised hopes in some quarters that housing would also be covered.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, had said: ‘In order to create places where people will live as well as work, we would hope to see discussion as to whether large-scale housing schemes could be considered within significant infrastructure projects. This would enable the development industry to deliver a large number of homes, quickly.’

But a government spokesperson confirmed this would not be the case.

Prior to the general election, Labour published the proposed remit of its commission, setting out 10 national infrastructure goals.

One priority was the ‘infrastructure, new towns and urban extensions to ensure 200,000 new homes a year by 2020 and that we are meeting need by 2025.’

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