Mark Whitehead 26 June 2019

Whitehall’s 300,000 house building target ‘way off track’

The Government's target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s is in danger because of a 'lack of decisive action', MPs have warned.

The parliamentary public accounts committee says 'inherent problems at the heart of the housing planning system' are likely to jeopardise the target, pointing out that on average only 177,000 homes have been built each year from 2005 to 2018.

It says the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government still has no detailed plan for how to scale-up house building.

The committee welcomes the ‘plan-led system’ in which councils decide the shape of development in their areas, but warns they are struggling to produce local plans.

They say less than half of authorities have an up-to-date local plan and the ministry is 'reluctant to take decisive action'.

The committee's chair Meg Hillier said: 'Progress against the Government’s annual new house building target is way off track and currently shows scant chance of being achieved.  

'The Government has set itself the highly ambitious target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s – levels not seen since World War two - even though there is no clear rationale for this figure and the Ministry themselves say only 265,000 new homes a year are needed.    

'Government needs to get a grip and set out a clear plan if it is not to jeopardise these ambitions.’

Responding to the report, the minister of state for housing Kit Malthouse MP said: ‘This Government is determined to restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation by delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

‘We’re committed to building more, better and faster, including £44bn of funding and guarantees to support more homes, reforming the planning system to free up more land, and removing the cap on how much?councils?can borrow?to build.

‘We’re making real progress, last year delivering more new homes than in all but one of the last 31 years.’

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