PM rejects 'Nimby' councils claims

Banbury Cake: Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected claims that 'Nimby' councils are blocking house-building in their areas Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected claims that 'Nimby' councils are blocking house-building in their areas

David Cameron has denied that "Nimby" councils are stifling house-building across the country.

The Prime Minister insisted local authorities have been given incentives to approve property proposals in their areas as he faced claims that Conservative councils are taking a "not in my back yard" (Nimby) stance.

Told that too many Tory authorities are Nimbys and are turning down schemes, Mr Cameron replied: "I don't accept that."

He insisted the Government had radically changed the planning system, telling the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We have a locally-driven planning system where the first decision is made by the local district council.

"If I take my own district council, controlled by the Conservatives in West Oxfordshire, it makes its decisions but actually we've been building in West Oxfordshire more houses than was actually set out under our plans.

"So I don't accept that all these councils are Nimbys and one thing we have changed in Government is the New Homes Bonus, so councils get an advantage if they agree to more houses being built.

"I think for many years in this country there was nothing in it for the local authorities to say 'Yes' to housing."

Mr Cameron also said he would consider making changes to the Help to Buy scheme after Bank of England governor Mark Carney signalled he is ready to take action to cool Britain's surging housing market.

Asked if he would consider bringing down the £600,000 Help to Buy threshold, the PM said: "Of course, we will consider any changes that are proposed by Mark Carney.

"But, as he said, this is a well-targeted scheme and it's helped tens of thousands of people get on the housing ladder and to have mortgages."

Turning to Thursday's Euro elections, Mr Cameron was asked why his vow to hold an in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union by 2017 had failed to dampen the impact of the UK Independence Party.

Mr Cameron looked ahead to next year's general election as he said: "I think in many ways the referendum pledge will have its greatest relevance at the time of the next election when people will be choosing, d o you want to have the Conservatives, David Cameron, continuing with a long-term economic plan that's turning the country around and an in/out referendum?

"Do you want those things or do you want Labour - that will tax, spend and borrow - or do you want to vote for another party that could risk not having a long-term economic plan and a referendum?"

On Europe and the Scottish independence referendum, Mr Cameron said: " Perhaps the best slogan the Conservatives ever had was Trust The People and that is what I am doing on both of these issues."

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