The local authority subsidy was intended to speed up planning decisions

Communities secretary Eric Pickles today confirmed the department was cutting the planned £146m spend on housing and planning delivery grant.

The Conservative Party had said before the election it intended to cut the fund, which subsidises local authority planning departments in order to speed up planning decisions. However the Coalition agreement did not specify the fund was to be cut.

The decision was confirmed as the Communities department laid out more details of specifically where the £1.66bn of local authority cuts announced as part of the £6bn of cost savings announced in May, will come.

Housing minister Grant Shapps has previously said the money saved from cutting Housing and Planning Delivery Grant would be put into funding financial incentives to reward councils for allowing more homes to be built in their areas. However planners have expressed concern it will hit an already struggling service to local developers.

Today’s statement confirmed previously released cuts to affordable housing spend, of £100m, and £50m for the HCA’s Kickstart programme. In addition the statement said other regeneration funding, such as the £17.5m for the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative and £7.5m for contaminated land, will be cut.

Pickles said: ” Reducing that deficit, putting the finances back on a stable footing and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain. Tough fiscal times will be challenging for all, but the reductions have been made to reflect the Government’s policy of decentralisation and a scaling back of the quango state.”