One of the Tories’ main housing policies has come under fire from house builders, which have warned it could create a hiatus in the planning system.

Caroline Spelman, shadow communities secretary, has written to councils warning them not to make decisions on controversial planning issues until after the general election. She promised them they would be able to 'put the brakes' on any elements of regional spatial strategies that they found 'undesirable'.

Spelman also told local authorities that a Tory government would not pay 'a penny of compensation' to speculative developers that saw their plans fall by the wayside.

The Home Builders Federation said there was 'real concern' about Spelman’s letters. 'The timing is unfortunate: housing providers have been through the worst downturn in living memory and the letter would lead to a hiatus in planning for housing that could only exacerbate the supply crisis we already face,' it warned.

Financial Times