Housing and Planning

Housing White Paper fails to tackle root cause of Britain’s broken housing market



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Reaction to Government's housing White Paper

Commenting on the Government’s White Paper on housing released today, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Despite being well-intentioned, many of the initiatives put forward are fiddly and fail to address the main cause of Britain’s broken housing market: a lack of supply.

“Forcing councils to set aside land for new homes is largely meaningless if developers can’t build on it because of our restrictive planning laws. And initiatives encouraging pensioners to downsize are a red herring – many don’t downsize simply because there is a lack of suitable alternatives.

“Unfortunately, the Government has shied away from liberalising the planning system, despite this being by far the best way to bring down housing costs. Even freeing up a small percentage of greenbelt land would make a huge difference to supply. It is a shame to see this opportunity to reform the housing market fall by the wayside, at the expense of those trying to get onto the housing ladder, and the millions in rental accommodation. It seems politics has once again trumped sensible economics.” 

Notes to editors: 
For media enquiries please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Communications Officer: nchesterfield@iea.org.uk or 0207 799 8909 or 07766 221 268

The IEA’s briefing on the Housing Crisis can be downloaded 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.

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