The Government support local authorities through both central funding and developer contributions to deliver the infrastructure that new development demands. In 2020-21, Swale Borough Council secured over £3.7 million of developer contributions and we are providing Kent County Council with £38 million from the housing infrastructure fund to support road improvements, which will unlock 8,500 homes in Swale.
I am always grateful for any money that Swale Borough Council gets, but of course those particular funds are designed to ensure even more homes can be built, and that would do nothing to reduce congestion on roads in Sittingbourne and Sheppey, or to increase the number of secondary school places available to local people, or to make it easier for those people to get an appointment with a GP. What Swale needs is fewer houses, not more; so would my right hon. Friend consider placing a moratorium on housing targets for Swale Borough Council and local authorities in Kent generally until the problems I have highlighted are resolved?
As I said in a previous answer, it is for local authorities to determine the number of homes they need and to set those numbers accordingly. We want to make sure that where development takes place infrastructure is available to support it. That is why we have the HIF—housing infrastructure fund—to which I have referred and the new home building fund, with a significant amount of money for infrastructure. It is also why we want through our planning reforms to look carefully at how infrastructure funding can be provided, so that it is provided up front and new developments benefit from the schools and clinics and kids’ playgrounds that they need, and new communities get bang for their buck.