Housing and Planning

Green Belt regulations stand in the way of young people getting on the housing ladder


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Commenting on the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s latest report, which finds almost half a million houses are planned to be built on Green Belt land this year, the Institute of Economic Affairs’s Director General Mark Littlewood said:

“The only meaningful way to solve the issue of unaffordable housing is to liberalise the planning system and build more homes.

“The concept of the Green Belt is widely out of date, as much of the land protected by Green Belt regulation is not environmentally valuable or scenic in the first place. Over 35 per cent of London’s Green Belt is intensively farmed agricultural land, yet there is opposition to transforming these sites into residential areas. 

“In essence, we are prioritising the protection of dump sites over the opportunity for young people to get on the housing ladder. 

“Since 1970, average house prices in the UK have risen by a staggering four and a half fold after inflation. No other OECD country’s experience has even come close. The UK’s housing crisis must be addressed, and even mild embrace of planning liberalisation is a step in the right direction.” 

Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries please contact Kate Andrews: [email protected] or 07476 915072

For the IEA’s briefing on the housing crisis, please click here.

The IEA has launched the 2018 Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize. First prize of £50,000 will be awarded to the best and boldest entry outlining a ‘Free Market Breakthrough’ policy to solve the UK housing crisis.

Submissions close 14 September 2018. For more details, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.



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