The government have today announced that they intend to build a million homes across England over the next 5 years, in a bid to tackle what housing minister Brandon Lewis described as "decades-old deficit".
The minister told the BBC’s Inside Out programme “By the end of this parliament, success I think would mean that we have seen a build in total of something like a million homes.”
The National Housing Federation (NHF), a trade or industry body representing providers of housing, predicted that 974,000 homes were needed between 2011 and 2014, however, figures taken from 326 councils indicated a mere 457,490 were built; less than half of what is required to tackle a crisis.
According to the NHF, roughly 245,000 new homes would need to be built each year in England alone.
Director of policy and external affairs at NHF, Gill Payne said commented "In some areas, there is a drastic shortage causing prices to soar, putting homes out of the reach of many people. Families and young people across the country are crying out for genuinely affordable homes so they can put roots down and achieve their dreams of owning a home.”
"Skyrocketing rents and ballooning house prices are eating up more and more of people's wages and forcing people out of their local communities or into smaller, lower quality housing.”
"We haven't built enough homes in this country for decades, and if the gap between the number of households forming and the number of new homes being built continues to grow, we are in danger of not being able to house our children."
The announcement made today follows last week’s news that the government had launched a new group of experts to help streamline the local plan-making process. The 8-strong panel will consider how it can be simplified with the aim of slashing the amount of time it takes for local authorities to get them in place.
The conservatives have also attempted to make the planning application easier and quicker by introducing the national planning policy framework. This was met with harsh criticism due to fears that it could be easily exploited to make delivering unwanted and heavily protested proposals much easier to build.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis defended the changes, saying that they would create a "principle of development" on brownfield sites, which would in turn assist councils greatly in getting applications accepted in a much shorter timescale.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England estimates that 1.8 million homes could be built on British brownfield sites.
Mr Lewis stated "Ultimately, it is up to local authorities to look at what their housing needs are and where they feel it is appropriate to build.”
"I trust local people to get that right."
Regardless of political stance, one thing that everybody is in agreement with is that more housing is needed. Gill Payne concluded that she wanted housing associations to build more to meet demand, saying "Last year housing associations built 50,000 homes, 40% of all new homes across the country, and they have ambitions to work in partnership with government to vastly increase this."