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Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says the government “will listen” to views on where new homes should be built, but won’t cut its target to build 300,000 homes a year.

The housing secretary said he wanted to encourage more building in the Midlands and the North rather than London.

building new homesIn the summer, Advantage wrote about Boris Johnson’s pledge to “build, build, build” and how that had been received by leading voices within the construction industry.

Back in 2018, the government made what many felt was an ambitious commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid 2020s.

This week the BBC reported that when about the government’s housing plans for England, Mr Jenrick said he wanted homes to be built in every part of the country, including in those areas where it is expensive to live.

He said local councils would be given a rough estimate of how many homes needed to be built in their community. Local councils will then be invited to come forward with potential sites for new buildings – taking into account constraints such as areas protected by the green belt, he said.

Recommitting to building more homes

“Obviously we will listen to views express in the consultation or whether there are different ways to achieve that, ” Jenrick said.

“But are we going to move away from our objective to build more homes? Absolutely not.

“We should be a government that is setting out to build more homes because we’ve got to help next generation onto the housing ladder and the most vulnerable people in society to get homes.

Causing controversy

It has been widely reported that Jenrick is facing a growing rebellion by Conservative MPs, notably including Theresa May, over his plans which they feel may lead to more housebuilding in the English countryside.

Advantage’s view

Although the government has stood by their high profile commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year, between the brewing planning rebellion among Conservative MPs, the high cost of the other spending commitments they’ve made this year and the broader challenges posed by the current pandemic, many in the construction industry view this as an ambitious target.

Related reads: Government lays out planning changes intended to “cut out unnecessary beaurocracy.”

A new report puts social and affordable housing at the heart of the nation’s economic recovery.