Following on from our recent blog about how council house building is at its highest level since 1990, this week Advantage, experts in structural defects warranty, has been looking at the newly reported claims that despite all of the high profile work they’ve been doing in an attempt to deal with the nation’s housing shortfall, the government may actually be prolonging the crisis.
As reported by the BBC, the government has been accused of exacerbating the national housing crisis by failing to sell enough land for affordable and social housing.
According to a new BBC report: The Public Accounts Committee said the UK would miss its 2020 target of public land sales “by a wide margin”.
It said the government “has wasted a once-in-a-generation opportunity to alleviate the nation’s housing crisis”.
The government said it had delivered 222,000 new homes last year, more than “in all but one of the last 31 years”.
“Government departments have identified enough surplus public sector land for 160,000 new homes and our development accelerator Homes England is providing expert assistance to get these built more quickly,” the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government added.
The Public Accounts Committee calculated the government’s land sale failure would result in 91,000 fewer homes in 2020 than anticipated, equivalent to 57% of its overall target.
The government is expected to meet a second target of raising £5bn from land sales, but this is mainly down to luck, the committee added.
Being on track for this target “is largely due to the unanticipated sale of Network Rail’s railway arches in February 2019 which raised £1.46bn, nearly 30% of the overall target,” the committee said.
There are unexplained sales, with 176 sites being sold for £1 or less between April 2015 and March 2018, the committee added.
There is also a tension between trying to sell the land for the maximum amount possible and expecting developers to then build social housing on that land, the committee added.
In March, an investigation by Huffpost and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggested that just 6% of the new homes built on land sold by local authorities were likely to be used for social housing, with some developments being solely luxury apartments.
Back in June, we wrote a blog about the probe by MPs into the ‘stagnated’ delivery of social and affordable housing and with many questioning whether the government’s ambitious house building targets are deliverable, we don’t think this is the last we’ll be hearing of these kind of questions.
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