The UK’s housing model is “broken”, housing secretary Michael Gove has said.
The comments by the senior cabinet minister come in a foreword to a collection of essays by liberal conservative think tank Bright Blue.
First reported by the Times newspaper, Mr Gove writes: “We desperately need more homes to bring ownership within reach of many more people.”
The essays, written by Tory MPs as well as commentators and experts, discuss a thorny issue for the government.
Prime minister Rishi Sunak last year caved in to pressure to make the target of building 300,000 homes a year in England advisory rather than mandatory.
Gove wrote: “That the current housing model — from supply to standards and the mortgage market — is broken, we can all agree. That change is necessary is undeniable.”
Elsewhere in the essay collection, Tory MP Shaun Bailey – one of the crop of MPs first elected in 2019 as the Tories gained so-called “red wall” seats from Labour – criticises housebuilding progress in recent decades.
“Over the last 20 years, the supply of good-quality housing has completely failed to keep pace with demand, causing ever-increasing house prices,” he writes, in remarks first reported by the Mirror.
“This imbalance has led to millions living in inadequate homes, with the poorest and the most marginalised in society most vulnerable.”
Housing report findings
Ryan Shorthouse, Bright Blue chief executive, said the government needed to make “genuinely affordable and appropriate housing… accessible to a much wider proportion of the population, especially younger generations and those on modest incomes”.
But he admitted: “There is no silver bullet to fix the housing crisis… we need new, radical solutions now.”
While Polly Neate, Shelter chief executive, added: “The housing emergency is robbing hundreds of thousands of people of a safe and secure home.
“Private rents are skyrocketing, over a million households are stuck on social housing waiting lists and homelessness has almost doubled in the last 10 years.”
The report has made over 60 policy recommendations, including committing to an additional 90,000 social homes a year; decentralising planning power; creating a community right to buy; extending the homelessness prevention duty; and encouraging use of brownfield sites.
By Dominic McGrath, PA