The government’s flagship new homes building policy to create 300,000 units a year by the mid-2020s is has little chance of being achieved, it has been claimed by MPs.
The cross-party House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has released a report that severely criticises ministers’ efforts to increase house building in recent years.
“Progress against the government’s annual new house building target is way off track and currently shows scant chance of being achieved,” says Committee chair Meg Hillier (pictured, below).
“The government has set itself the highly ambitious target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s – levels not seen since World War Two – even though there is no clear rationale for this figure and the ministry themselves say only 265,000 new homes a year are needed.
“Government needs to get a grip and set out a clear plan if it is not to jeopardise these ambitions.”
Her committee’s report also examines why too few houses are being built, blaming problems at the heart of the planning system. This includes the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government being reluctant to tackle councils who don’t update their local plans, and also difficulties securing sufficient infrastructure contributions from private developers.
May’s new homes legacy
The report risks derailing one of Theresa May’s key legacy claims. In a speech made last week during the Chartered Institute of Housing conference, she claimed that in many regions of the UK house building has been ramping up, including by 43% in Nottingham and 80% in Birmingham.
“The housing shortage in this country began not because of a blip lasting one year or one parliament, but because not enough homes were built over many decades,” she said.
“The very worst thing we could do would be to make the same mistake again.”