1. Governance
April 1, 2016

British government “to invest billions” in solving the housing crisis

By Jonn Elledge

So, this is unexpected: the British government just announced plans to spend billions of public money on the largest British housebuilding problem since the 1930s. Apparently, according to George Osborne, there must be “no barrier” to ending the housing crisis within 10 years. Huh.

The plan will see involve a radical package of measures, intended to double the rate at which Britain is building houses. These include further planning reform; changes to land use restrictions such as the green belt, in order to free up more land for development; and stronger compulsory purchase rules.

On top of that, ministers are planning a major state building programme. In a press release published on the communities department website over night, housing minister Brandon Lewis was quoted as saying that, “if the house building industry will not step up to the plate, then the government must.”

The same release quoted Osborne as follows: “For too long, politicians of all parties have prioritised the needs of elderly homeowners over those of their children. But there must be no barrier – financial or political – to building the homes Britain needs.”

The proposals are understood to have been triggered by concern within the Conservative party that high housing costs were a drain on the economy, and that falling home ownership rate would imperil the party’s future electoral prospects. They were originally intended to be included in last month’s Budget, but were delayed.

The plan is intended to end the housing crisis within 10 years. In order to cover the transition, tighter regulation of landlords is expected to look obviously this is total bullshit, we’re just making it up. The government isn’t going to do any of this stuff. Check the date. LOL! Sorry.

But imagine if it were true, eh? Imagine if the government were actually serious about fixing this mess – about using its unexpected majority, and the current weakness of the Labour party, to push through policies that’ll benefit today’s young people and boost the economy? Even if it costs them a few council seats in the shires. Even if it imperiled someone’s leadership ambitions. Imagine that eh?

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Jesus sodding christ, I’m depressed.

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