An MP and former special adviser to the Prime Minister and a former Chancellor of the Exchequer has unveiled a 10-point plan to solve the UK’s housing crisis.
Neil O’Brien, the MP for Harborough in Leicestershire, wants to build more homes and increase home ownership by overhauling the planning system, reforming property taxation and create homes specifically for young people.
In a policy paper written for the think-tank Onward and entitled Green, Pleasant and Affordable, the politician argues for a “fundamentally new approach to both housing supply and demand to reverse 15 years of falling homeownership and to build the homes that Britain needs”.
‘Reverse 15 years of falling homeownership’
The paper noted that France has built twice as many new homes every year as Britain since 1979, resulting in real house price growth that is half the rate of the UK. Meanwhile, in France, the proportion of those who spend more than 40 percent of their income is less than half of those in Britain.
Meanwhile, Mr O’Brien, who previously worked for Theresa May and George Osborne, said the growth of buy-to-let has prevented 2.2 million from owning their own homes.
Councils can lead way
His 10-point plan is:
- Allow councils greater powers to borrow and buy land and plan better infrastructure.
- Build more in UK cities.
- Central government to create a new generation of garden cities, supporting integrated planning for transport and housing.
- Reform of legislation that would allow councils to buy land at current market value.
- Abolish government controls on how councils spend the fees they receive from developers.
- Boost competition by encouraging more small builders back into the property market.
- Create long-term incentives for councils to increase developments.
- Reform property taxation to stop investors using house and lands as speculative assets.
- HM Treasury and the Bank of England to set a new inflation target to keep house price inflation down and increase affordability.
- Help a million younger households with deposits and also by building discounted rental properties.
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