Housing and Planning

IEA: Labour Party is “wrong to focus purely on social housing”

Responding to Labour’s manifesto announcement, calling for the biggest council and social house building programme for decades, Head of Political Economy at the Institute of Economic Affairs Dr Kristian Niemietz said:

“While Labour is right to highlight the severity of the UK’s housing crisis, the party is wrong to focus purely on the availability of social housing.

“There is no specific shortage of social housing in the UK, but rather a shortage of inexpensive housing in all forms, from privately rented accommodation to homes for first-time buyers.  

“Rather than implementing separate policy measures for each subsector of the housing market, politicians would do better to focus on measures to increase the overall housing supply and improve affordability across the board.

“To do this they should focus on reforming our planning system, releasing scenically unattractive land which has been classified as greenbelt, and by making sensible tax changes – such as fiscal devolution – which would strengthen incentives for local authorities to permit development.

“By making these changes, we would be able to boost supply enough to lead to house prices and rents falling, making accommodation far more affordable.”

Notes to editors:

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For further IEA reading from Dr Kristian Niemietz, click here.

For further IEA reading on how to solve the housing crisis, 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.

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

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