Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a bevvy of new housing market reforms today as he scrambles to show he’s working to find some solutions to the UK’s housing crisis.
Under new rules expected to be revealed today, Sunak along with housing minister Michael Gove will grant power to refuse brownfield land development permission to councils that are currently failing housing targets – estimated to be around 80 per cent.
The prime minister has admitted that the Conservatives have “much more to do” as home ownership among the young continues to decline.
The duo will also rubber-stamp powers for non-domicile buildings such as shops and offices to be converted into homes without the need for full planning permission.
“I understand people’s anger when that dream [of home ownership] feels too far away for too many, especially the younger generation,” he told The Times.
“We know there is much more to do. [But] to solve the housing challenge, we must ask not just ‘how many’, but ‘where’,” he said.
Sunak also said the measures would “protect our precious countryside” by leaving the Green Belt untouched.
These measures, Westminster believes, will boost homes in and around the UK’s most populous areas as well as covering brownfield land.
“We won’t solve the housing challenge if we simply ignore people’s concerns or bulldoze through local opposition. All that would build is resentment,” he added.
Housing minister Michael Gove recently warned that the desperate state of low home ownership in the UK risks alienating younger voters from the democratic process.
The inability to get on the housing ladder, coupled with spiralling rents and a lack of affordable housing have been cited as some of the biggest reasons why voters have moved away from the Tories toward Labour in recent years.
Sunak will be hoping his efforts to stimulate housebuilding generate some political capital for his party ahead of the general election, which is set to take place within the next year.
The moves come as Sunak faced one of several recent party uprisings, where dozens of Tory MPs demanded “emergency” funding for councils which they say are facing cash pressures “like never before” amid an election year.