Million new homes aim declared by minister Brandon Lewis

The UK government says it wants a million homes built in England by 2020, as the scale of the housing crisis is revealed in a BBC Inside Out investigation.

The National Housing Federation estimated 974,000 homes were needed between 2011 and 2014.

But figures from 326 councils showed only 457,490 were built.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said the government aimed to see one million new homes over this Parliament, but Labour said the Tories had failed on housing.

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The federation said about 245,000 new homes were needed each year in England.

Gill Payne, director of policy and external affairs, said: “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.”


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Image copyrightALAMY
A number of factors have been blamed for the failure to build more homes

Numerous factors have been blamed, ranging from planning procedures being too slow to developers sitting on large tracts of empty land instead of building on it.

In 2012, the government introduced changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, aimed at making the planning process simpler and quicker.

Some 240,000 planning applications have been given detailed permission in 2014 compared with 158,000 in 2011.

Worst performers

 
  • Kingston upon Thames

  • Harrow

  • Maldon

  • Harrogate

  • Camden

But critics say the change has also made it easier for “inappropriate and unwanted” developments to progress.

They also say the rise may be simply a response to low numbers of applications caused by the 2008 financial crash.

A shortage of land has also been cited by homelessness charity Shelter, while criticism has been levelled at developers who build slowly rather than progressing quickly.

Top performers

 
  • Liverpool

  • Lincoln

  • North East Lincolnshire

  • Blackburn with Darwen

  • North West Leicestershire

By keeping the number of new homes available at any one time low, the price of those houses can be kept high, said Matthew Pointon, property economist at Capital Economics.

“By building them more slowly it means they can maximise the value of their assets,” he told the BBC earlier this year.

A shortage of skilled labour, a big drop in the number of councils building new homes and regulations restricting housing associations have also been blamed.


Artist's impression of a skyscraper vertical village
Image copyrightUniversity of Nottingham
Academics from the University of Nottingham believe homes of the future will be a mixture of vertical village skyscrapers and flat pack houses which will be highly energy efficient

 

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