The Government’s new white paper on housing, entitled ‘fixing our broken housing market’, is not going to fix anything except the share prices of the large private development firms. As Simon Jenkins writes in The Guardian: ‘it is a stew of fake news, old clichés and pretend solutions’. It is long on consultation and very short on the radical measures needed to solve the UK’s housing crisis. It dodges all the big issues on reforming housing taxation, including the council tax, regulating rents and tenures, and on public responsibilities for housing provision. Even the very small measures it does propose come hedged with qualifications and get-out clauses.
As our research at the Llakes Centre for Learning and Life Chances shows, home ownership amongst 18-34s is only half of what it was 25 years ago, and the decline has affected all social groups. But the Government’s proposals won’t create the genuinely affordable housing to reverse this trend for young people.
The White Paper’s diagnosis of Britain’s housing crisis is simplistic in the extreme. It claims that the problem is ‘simply’ that we do not build enough homes, because of excessive planning regulation and lack of competition in the building sector. It is certainly the case that we have not been building enough homes, but the wider truth is not so (more…)