Housing and Planning

Scrapping housing targets without wider planning reform “represents another triumph of NIMBYism”


In the Media

Christopher Snowdon writes in Spiked!

Housing and Planning

Kristian Niemietz quoted in The Independent

Commenting on news that mandatory house building targets will be removed from the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, Kristian Niemietz, Head of Political Economy at the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs said:

“The scrapping of mandatory housing targets represents another triumph of NIMBYism. Britain is now officially a ‘NIMBYocracy’, run in the interest of those who were lucky enough to get on the housing ladder in time, and who have since been busy pulling up that ladder.

“In the long run you could argue we need to move away from top down targets. But you have to fix the incentives first. To remove targets without putting in place other reforms risks housing supply at a time when we urgently need more homes.

“Housing targets were a useful tool to curb the worst excesses of NIMBYism. Britain is not ‘overdeveloped’ and was never at any risk of becoming so. Even in the relatively densely populated Southeast of England, only about 10 per cent of the land is developed, in the broadest sense.

“What Britain does have is a massive housing shortage. If we wanted to match the European average in terms of housing supply (adjusted for differences in population size), we would have to build another 3.4 million homes. This comparative shortfall is a key reason why house prices in the UK have trebled in real terms since the mid-1990s, when in the Eurozone, they have only increased by a little over 50 per cent.

“This is an urgent crisis for tens of millions of people in cramped or unsuitable homes and the government has just decided to make it even worse.”


Notes to editors

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IEA spokespeople are available for interview and further comment.

Kristian wrote ‘In defence of “Stalinist” housing targets’ for the IEA blog in July.

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