Economic Affairs Committee Criticises Government Housing Targets

Economic Affairs Committee Criticises Government Housing Targets

The Economic Affairs Committee (EAC) says that the government’s target to build one million homes by the end of this Parliament will not be sufficient in meeting the shortage of homes.

The committee said that for the foreseeable future, at least 300,000 homes would need to be built every year in order to come to terms with the housing crisis, which is some 100,000 more than the current government target of 200,000.

Furthermore, local authorities should be permitted to adjust planning fees as they so wish.

The cross-party House of Lords committee, ‘Building More Homes’, criticises the government’s policy of setting a new homes target that will not meet the demand for new homes or moderate the house price increase rate.

The group also criticised the government for the following: having a narrow focus on home ownership which neglects those who rent; the extension of the Right to Buy scheme; creating uncertainty by making frequent changes to tax rules and subsidies for house purchases and restricting local authorities’ access to funding to build more social housing.

Committee Chairman, Lord Hollick, said that for many people home ownership and renting are “simply unaffordable” and that the only way of addressing this was to increase the supply.

Hollick commented: “The country needs to build 300,000 homes a year for the foreseeable future. The private sector alone cannot deliver that. It has neither the ability nor motivation to do so. We need local government and housing associations to get back into the business of building.

“It makes no sense that a local authority is free to borrow to build a swimming pool, but cannot do the same to build homes.”

The EAC has now made several recommendations that it thinks are needed to address the housing crisis, among them is the suggestion that a senior cabinet minister should be given full responsibility for the identification and co-ordination of the release of public land for housing, with a specific focus on providing low-cost homes.

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