[slider]Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has pledged a huge increase in the target for building new homes in England, setting out plans in his Budget to raise the tally to 300,000 a year by the mid 2020s.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show about his upcoming speech last weekend, Mr Hammond said it was “not acceptable” that young people find it hard to get on the housing ladder and that building more homes to ease the shortage of supply would be a key way to “pledge to the next generation“.
The chancellor detailed how he would seek to the target in the Budget, saying up to £44 billion of loans and guarantees would be provided by the government – suggesting he had gone at least some of the way to meeting Sajid Javid’s reported request for £50 billion to fund a mass housebuilding plan.
Saying the government could not simply “pour money in to” the problem and that there was no “silver bullet” to deal with the issue, Mr Hammond had told Mr Marr that many of the measures needed to boost building are not about money, but the law. This includes help for smaller construction firms to get a fair share of the workload, making it easier to get planning permission and ensuring that, once permission is in place, construction work starts sooner.
Many of those who are currently renting their homes might wonder whether the government can genuinely meet this target, however. In 2015, it set a goal of building one million new homes over five years, but the 200,000 a year figure needed to keep pace has proved beyond the construction industry until the last 12 months, when 217,000 were built.
The 217,000 figure was welcomed in a speech last week by Mr Javid, but he warned that there are many people who are resistant to further building, noting that many “baby boomers” who have paid off their mortgages believe young people are only held back from buying homes by lifestyle choices, not affordability.