Affordable homes policy has no foundations – The Yorkshire Post says

THE Tory party’s spectacular defeat in the Chesham and Amersham by-election a week ago continues to be portrayed as a triumph for nimbyism – and rebuttal of Government planning reforms.

What can be done to tackle the shortage of affordable housing?
What can be done to tackle the shortage of affordable housing?

Yet it is actually far more nuanced than this. Leaving aside the rank hypocrisy of the unscrupulous Lib Dems over HS2, it was a repudiation of the size, and scale, of houses being permitted on greenfield sites.

Most families are not against new housing per se. What they desire, however, is far more starter homes to enable their children, and grandchildren, to gain a tentative first step on the property ladder.

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And this is certainly true in Yorkshire where soaring house prices are making the dream of home ownership even more distant for so many young people whose wages, and savings, are insufficient to put down a deposit.

What can be done to tackle the shortage of affordable housing?

Now, while the Government will contend that its stamp duty holiday has given the economy a timely boost in the wake of the Covid pandemic, others argue that it is, in fact, accentuating the situation.

It is further compounded by legitimate concerns over the location of new developments. Because so many new houses approved by council planners are not constructed, it is increasing pressure on Green Belt areas as a result.

And then there’s the effectiveness – or otherwise – of rules intended to compel developers to ensure a designated number of new properties are ‘affordable’.

As pressure grows on the Government to do more to empower housing associations, it is important that Ministers do not, as a knee-jerk response to the Home Counties mutiny, view policy purely through the prism of planning. It needs to be extended to all aspects of housing policy if the Tory party are, 40 years after Margaret Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ reforms, to continue to be the primary party of home ownership.

What can be done to tackle the shortage of affordable housing?

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