Local government minister Hilary Armstrong hinted at this week’s conference that the government would stop short of offering tax breaks to housebuilders to meet its brownfield development targets.

Asked whether there would be incentives for housebuilders building on recycled land, Armstrong told Building: “No, but we will do whatever is needed to get 60% of housing on brownfield sites.”

Armstrong’s remarks come in the wake of Lord Rogers’ urban taskforce report, which said that present government policies would deliver only 55% brownfield land use.

It also follows a series of attacks on government brownfield policy from housebuilders. Firms used the interim results season as a platform to call for changes to planning policy to encourage brownfield development.

Frank Eaton, chairman of Barratt, said it was equally difficult to get brownfield approval as greenfield, and Redrow’s Steve Morgan accused the government of speaking with a “forked tongue” on planning and regeneration.

Armstrong, who has been given the challenge of modernising local government, said that she was ready to give councils “a shake up” in order to get them to modernise.