Government may take emergency measures to boost housing supply

Guy Bentley
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The government is exploring measures to boost house building as new figures are expected to reveal a dearth of new builds this year, according to the BBC's Newsnight programme.

According to leaked documents seen by the BBC, officials fear that data set to be released before the 2015 general election will show a four per cent decline in house building.

"The government said pressure would be brought to bear on 'slow-coach councils' to deliver on new build. The decrease is worrying the government after it expended quite considerable political capital on planning reform and other measures to boost house building", said the BBC editor Allegra Stratton.

The news will add to the argument that Britain's housing crisis is fundamentally driven by lack of supply, with fewer houses being built than at any point since World War One.

Furthermore, estimates suggest the shortfall of housing in England has been 1.6m to 2.3m houses between 1994 and 2012. Moreover, too many of those which have been built have not been in locations where demand is highest.

London prices are now over 17 per cent higher than their previous boom-time peak in 2008. The average house in London, priced at £438,00, is now worth three times as much as equivalent properties in the north east of England, priced at only £144,000.

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