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"No silver bullets" for homebuilding says the housing minister

Mark Sands
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Average House Price In The UK Rises 8% In The Year
Barwell rejected calls to reform rules on building homes on green belt land (Source: Getty)

Housing minister Gavin Barwell has pushed back on a call to liberalise rules on green belt construction, warning there are "no silver bullets" to the UK's shortfall in homebuilding.

Earlier this week, communities secretary Sajid Javid revealed plans for a housing white paper later this year.

And Barwell today said the government would pursue a multi-faceted approach, but he resisted a demand to reform green belt rules which are set by the National Policy Planning Framework, saying the current position "strikes the right balance".

"There are things that we can do around the edges, but it would be a great mistake to divert the debate on how we build the houses we need [in to changes on the green belt]," he said.

"There can't be a single silver bullet suggestion because if there was it would have been arrived at," Barwell said.

Barwell's comments came after Institute of Economic Affairs head of public policy Ryan Bourne called on the government to shake up the rules to free up land for construction.

"The only way that we are going to tackle this problem in the short term is to have a big policy shift," Bourne said, adding that the government could not "continue to delude itself the housing shortage can be solved by brownfield [sites]."

Announcing his ambitions for 1m new homes by 2020 this week, Javid attacked attitudes of so-called nimbyism.

"Everybody agrees we need more homes, but too many object to them being built next to us," Javid said.

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