There is little point in hiding the fact that I have 'robust' views about the Community Infrastructure Levy. Having spent the last few years working with the regulations; it is safe to say that I am not a fan. The regime, like most tax systems, is complex, highly regimented and inflexible. There are severe penalties levied against even minor infringements - such as serving a notice late or accidentally implementing a planning permission before the Council has agreed the amount payable.
The regime does not easily fit with the need for developers (or indeed councils) to address site specific issues or changes in the market. In short, CIL does very little to assist the government's long term aims of increasing the supply of houses in the UK and encouraging the role of small builders in providing them. As a result, the CIL Review Panel's report on the future of CIL is of significant interest to me.
The Panel, which is chaired by the former British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace, is expected to recommend significant reforms to the Levy. The Estates Gazette has indicated that the Panel is likely to recommend significantly reducing the scope of the Levy, which would be welcome, but has yet to be confirmed. Unfortunately, the Panel is not expected to recommend abolishing CIL completely.
Given the current focus on the referendum, it is almost certain the report will not be published before 23 June. DCLG suggested as much when I called to ask about the likely publication date. How quickly it will be published is likely to depend on the result of the referendum. I suspect the Government may have other priorities in the event of a vote for BREXIT.
The government’s specially appointed task force is to call for a radical overhaul of the community infrastructure levy six years after it was introduced. It will recommend a major policy U-turn, stripping CIL back to its original purpose by funding local infrastructure with a simple, national base tax on all new developments. Section 106 charges would return for infrastructure requirements on large developments. The changes are expected to be considered after parliament’s summer recess. The recommendations come from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s CIL review panel, set up as an independent working group chaired by former British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace.