UK Construction Media

Latest official house building figures show government could miss target

News   •   Nov 15, 2016 15:08 GMT

The Prime Minister may miss the promised target of building one million new homes before new election, according to figures.

Although affordable housing was central to Prime Minister, Theresa May’s promise to her voters in the election, new figures suggest that the government’s target of building one million new homes by 2020 could be missed.

Critics argue that more supply will bring down prices.

Statistics released by the Department for Communities and Local Government show just 189,650 new homes were added to the housing stock in the first year of this parliament, a shortfall of over 10,000 a year on the target.

In order to meet the pledge, the government must build 200,000 homes a year to close Britain’s “homes deficit”, with the government needing to speed up house building even further due to the failure in the first year.

Warnings have been issued that 200,000 homes a year will not be enough, and that 300,000 houses are required per year to stop the housing market spiralling further out of control.

The government have refused some proposals brought forward to speed up house building, such as allowing councils to borrow to build homes. Ministers have pledged a housing white paper with new policies to reform the planning system, however.

A total of £5Bn of cash was unveiled by ministers at the Conservative party conference, although some of the money had already been announced and were being re-advertised.

Homelessness charity, Shelter, warns that its helpline for people threatened by homelessness is now taking a call asking for assistance every 30 seconds.

John Healey, Labour’s shadow Housing Minister, said: “These are yet more disappointing house building figures. The number of new homes being built is still far lower than under Labour, seven years on from the depths of the global financial crisis. We are now well on our way to a lost decade of low house building under the Conservatives.

“These problems are of the government’s own making: huge cuts to housing investment and piecemeal planning changes have put a brake on new housing development including desperately needed affordable homes to rent and buy.

“Labour’s plan for investment would build thousands of new low-cost homes for hard pressed families. After six years of failure, Philip Hammond should use next week’s Autumn Statement to back our plans to build.”

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