Thursday 26 January 2017 12:48 pm

Tory infighting might be holding back the housing white paper

The government's housing white paper has been repeatedly delayed – and infighting within the Tory party might be to blame.

Prime Minister Theresa May has reportedly turned the policy document away because it wasn't substantial enough, and it is now thought it will be released on 6 February. 

Tories in safe seats, who are likely to oppose substantial housing developments in rural areas, may well be holding up the release of the long-awaited white paper, according to Mark Farmer, author of the Farmer Review, a recent government report on UK construction.

Read more: Foundations of the long-awaited housing white paper are still being laid

Farmer said the planning elements of the white paper will be something of a "hot-potato" among the Tories as some MPs seek to protect their constituencies from the noise and dust of construction work.

"That's particularly when it becomes a nimby-type debate," he said. "That's human nature and that's what the government is nervous about."

He said that although there would be reaction from those in key Tory seats, given the current state of the UK housing market, the government had "no choice but to make difficult choices".  Development policies were likely to focus on "politically safe" areas, such as brownfield sites on the edge of urban areas.

"Greenbelt is trickier, but it may have to be faced down," he said.