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In the current planning policy context there is considerable uncertainty over the need for an evidence base to support local authority plans for new housing, including affordable housing. This report for Shelter presents the findings of a survey of local authorities, follow up interviews and telephone interviews with a range of stakeholders within the housing development industry. It reviews current and emerging policy on housing demand and need and recommends that the way forward is to produce simple step by step guidance on the aspects of evidence that present the most problems for local authorities. It also recommends that local authorities keep a simple log of waiting list applicants that eliminates those who are not in housing need, as that would provide a robust assessment of housing need in the area.