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May warns developers to build UK homes or lose future permits

[LONDON] Prime Minister Theresa May will urge developers to "do their duty" and build more UK houses, threatening that those who delay construction after winning planning permission will find it harder to get permits in the future.

Conscious that the all-consuming Brexit project is defining her government, May is trying to address concerns about rising housing costs that led many younger voters to turn their backs on her Conservative Party in the 2017 general election. Her challenge is to do this without upsetting older citizens who do vote Conservative and dislike houses being built near them.

One lever the prime minister is pulling aims to get more houses built. In a speech in London on Monday, Mrs May will address the "perverse incentive" that developers have to "sit on land and watch its value rise" after planning permission has been granted.

"I want to see planning permissions going to people who are actually going to build houses," Mrs May will say, according to speech extracts released by her office "I expect developers to do their duty to Britain and build the homes our country needs." Local authorities will be allowed to take a developer's previous record in building into account when considering planning applications. But Mrs May will also pledge to protect the Green Belt, land where building is forbidden.