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NHF warns of deepening housing crisis

Too few houses have been built in England and the current housing crisis is set to get worse, according to the National Housing Federation.

NHF warns of deepening housing crisis

The NHF said that regional planning authorities had missed agreed targets over the whole period 2002/3-2008/9.

The region that came nearest to meeting its target in 2008/9 was the South East, which built 27,830 homes against a target of 32,700, missing its target by 15%.

Federation chief executive David Orr said: “Through identifying housing need at a local level, regional planning authorities and government agencies set out how many homes they think can realistically be delivered to meet housing need in each region.

“Failure to build the right number of homes across the country means that thousands of households are needlessly being condemned to the misery of poor and unsuitable housing”.

He said the “depressing results” showed urgent action was required to get house building back on track and urged ministers and the opposition parties to commit to protecting the current level of public spending on housing after the general election, saying not to do so now would “simply store up more problems for the future”.

A spokesman for the Communities and Local Government department pointed out that £4.2bn of investment has been announced by housing minister John Healey since he took office in June.

However shadow housing minister Grant Shapps said that Labour’s “house building-by-numbers policy” had failed and that the NHF figures revealed a “catastrophic failure”.

“The result is that fewer homes are being built now than during any peacetime period since 1924.

“The housing minister has abandoned aspiration by dropping Labour’s pledge of increasing home ownership and Brown’s regional housing targets have utterly failed,” he said.

“It’s time to overhaul the planning system, reward house building with council tax match funding incentives and work with, rather than against local communities to get more done.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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