HFI acclaims Cameron government's housebuilding legacy

Posted 4 August 2016 by Ben Salisbury

The Housing and Finance Institute says that David Cameron and George Osborne have left the strongest housebuilding legacy of any government for 35 years

The Housing and Finance Institute (HFI) has praised the house building legacy of former Prime Minister and chancellor, David Cameron and George Osborne, saying that “Britain has more fuel in its housing tank than at any recent time.”

The HFI said that with 750,000 new homes built during their term of office, this is the highest amount of new homes built by any government since 1981 and the start of the Thatcher era.

Natalie Elphicke, HFI’s chief executive said: “Cameron and Osborne’s is the strongest housing legacy of any government for over 35 years.

“This strong inheritance gives Theresa May and Phillip Hammond the opportunity to meet the government’s one million homes by 2020 target.”

The House Building Federation says that the UK needs to build between 220,000 and 250,000 new homes to prevent house prices rising too fast and combat the shortage of affordable homes, and that current levels are nowhere near the amount of new homes required but that numbers have been boosted by changes to permitted development right and planning controls.

In 2012-13, the UK hit a post-war low of just 135,500 additions to the net housing stock, in 2013-14, this went up to 141,000 new homes but in 2014-15 the NHF says this went up again to 155,000 or 171,000 if you count conversions.

Responding to the conventional view that the new Prime Minster, Theresa May, has inherited a full-blow housing crisis with not enough homes being built and those that are being built are unaffordable for the vast majority of Brits, Elphicke added: “It is true we have some serious housing challenges, but it is also a fact we have made some extraordinary steps forward since David Cameron and George Osborne took control of the tiller in 2010.”

She said the political partnership saw record-breaking levels of house building, a reformed planning policy and reforms that leave our housing industry in a much stronger position than in 2010 when they came to government with planning permissions reaching an eight-year high of 475,000 in stock at the start of 2016, over 200,000 extra homes added to the council tax base in the year to March 2016 and fewer empty homes on the books than at any time since records began.

Elphicke said that a key part of the government’s programme that has led to an increase has been its policy to give control back to councils: “There has been wholesale reform of planning through the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework. This is helping councils and housing businesses alike understand what housing is needed and where. Action has been taken on empty homes, on better utilisation of existing social housing stock and on keeping Britain building,” 

“To keep Britain building, Hammond will need to steady the global financial markets and continue with Help to Buy and other interventions.

“To counter the short term Brexit impact, the new government will need to accelerate the pace of change for these critical areas.”


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