He also urged a “crack down on landbankers” and for councils to be given incentives including retaining income from stamp duty and a tax on enveloped dwellings to boost housebuilding.
Johnson’s speech at the Conservative conference came after the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a series of measures intended to support house building and home buyers, including a New Homes Ombudsman and introducing permitted development rights.
‘Abusing dominant position’
Johnson said the party should be giving more young people the chance to become owner-occupiers, and that would require action on house building.
“Let’s encourage more small private builders,” he said.
“Let’s take on the big eight home builders, some of whom are now frankly abusing their dominant position. Let’s crack down on land bankers.”
Retain stamp duty
Instead, he argued councils should be given greater incentives and control of taxes raised in their area to allow them to build more homes and permit more developments.
“Let’s give councils a real incentive to go for planning permissions and to go for growth and to give planning permissions on those brownfield sites, with long overdue fiscal devolution,” he said.
“Give good councils the ability to retain stamp duty, council tax, business rates, and annual tax on enveloped dwellings, and they will have a motive to go for growth.
“Of course you would need to prevent councils from hiking the business rate, and you would need an equalisation formula because the yields are so different across the country.
“But we ought to be giving back control,” he added.