MS-X: Housing

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Juliet Manning MP
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MS-X: Housing

Post by Juliet Manning MP »

Mr Speaker,

For decades now, the price of houses in the UK has risen exponentially. In 1999, the average price of a house was just over £74,000. It is now nearly £300,000; an increase in percentage terms of around 290%. In the same period, wages have risen by only a quarter.

An entire generation faces being priced out of the housing market unless immediate and concerted action is taken to address the serious supply side problems facing the housing sector. In the south, demand rapidly outstrips supply, leading to dramatic price inflation. In the north, a shortage of good-quality infrastructure, modern housing and public spaces leads to a brain drain in some of the most disadvantaged communities. The approach of government for decades has been to tinker around the edges; extending existing towns into the countryside without improving existing infrastructure, and creating lacklustre demand-inducing support schemes for first-time buyers.

What is needed is a wholesale change to the way we think about housebuilding in this country, and a serious commitment to building new, good quality homes, including starter homes, in large numbers.

Today I can announce ahead of the budget that the government will be investing £19 billion over three years in the construction of 575,000 new homes and three new garden cities, with the bulk to be made up by developing existing brownfield sites which are poorly or disused, and with 50,000 residents to be accommodated in each of our new garden cities. The new cities, to be constructed near Royal Tunbridge Wells, south-east of Liverpool near Frodsham and outside of Birmingham between Henley-in-Arden and Kenilworth respectively, will be funded with an initial government commitment of £350 million and will each include 10,000 starter homes to a total of 25,000 private residences constructed in a traditional neo-Georgian style, with ample public amenities, green spaces, parks, wide boulevards planted with trees, and large central areas dedicated to shopping and recreation. Each of the new sites is situated on an existing main road, and further infrastructure development to be announced in the near future will ensure that these garden cities provide ample employment opportunities both for commuters into the nearby cities and for workers who choose to seek employment locally.

All new homes will feature electric vehicle charging points as standard, and any greenbelt land that is built upon will be replenished within the same local authority area by a factor of 1.05 to 1. Our development on brownfield sites across 28 local authorities will deliver 235,000 additional homes in Greater London, 35,000 each in Greater Manchester and Birmingham, 20,000 each in Salford and Sheffield and 25,000 in Leeds. Infrastructure improvements, such as will be outlined by the Chancellor in the forthcoming budget, will go hand in hand with housing development. In total, we are committing to 575,000 homes, houses for over 1.15 million people.

In order to temporarily overcome planning regulations in order to facilitate what constitutes the largest housebuilding programme in modern British history, legislation will be brought before the House in the near future empowering the government to designate the specific projects mentioned as automatically approved.

The Prime Minister will shortly outline a new scheme to extend our construction industry capacity to meet the challenge, which will feature components of tax incentives, targeted funding and changes to immigration policy in order to meet the changing need over time.

Britain should be a country in which home ownership is a reality for the many, not a pipe dream for most. Today, the government is committing wholesale to a revolutionary and bold change in housing policy which will sweep aside a legacy of decades of inaction. Mr Speaker, I commend this statement to the House.
Rt Hon. Ms Juliet Manning MP
Member of Parliament for Clwyd West

Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Lord President of the Council
Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
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