Housing Minister Wants One Million New Homes

The housing minister has recently revealed that he wants there to be one million new homes in England over the next five years. The BBC aired an “Inside Out” investigation that showed the true level of the housing crisis across this part of the UK.

The NHF (National Housing Federation) stated that 974,000 houses should have been built between the years 2011-2014. However information taken from over 320 councils, revealed that only 457,490 had been constructed in this time.

The Labour Party claim that the Conservatives have failed to deliver the housing that the country needs.

The National Housing Federation went on to claim that with every year that passes, England will need around 250,000 new homes.

The director of policy and external affairs, Gill Payne, said:

“Families and young people across the country are crying out for genuinely affordable homes so they can put roots down and achieve their dreams of owning a home.

“Skyrocketing rents and ballooning house prices are eating up more and more of people’s wages and forcing people out of their local communities or into smaller, lower quality housing.

“We haven’t built enough homes in this country for decades, and if the gap between the number of households forming and the number of new homes being built continues to grow, we are in danger of not being able to house our children.”

There have been various different causes blamed for the current situation with housing, such as developers hoarding land instead of building on it and the long wait for people to receive planning permission.

The government has taken some steps aimed at allowing people to receive planning permission more quickly, such as the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012. This was viewed as fairly successful, with 240,000 houses being approved in 2014 as opposed to 158,000 in 2011, but it is clear that more needs to be done.

These changes also drew criticism from many people who claimed that they allowed for “inappropriate and unwanted” developments to progress.  There is also a feeling that the “rise” may be a natural occurrence due to the unnaturally low level of applications following the economic crash.

Shelter, a homelessness charity, have pointed to a shortage of land being caused by developers who make slow progress rather than building their houses quickly.  A property economist at Capital Economics, Matthew Pointon, believes that keeping the supply of new homes low means that developers can increase the value of their investments.

“By building them more slowly it means they can maximise the value of their assets.”

There also those who point to the lower number of skilled labourers as a major factor, along with the lack of council building projects and new housing association regulations.

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