One Government minister said: “You can’t solve the cost of living without first solving housing. We need to stand up to the Nimbys in our own party and build.”
Conservatives fear the party is haemorrhaging support as too many voters cannot afford a home of their own.
And there is mounting frustration that efforts to turbo-charge the construction of new properties have been derailed by powerful figures within Tory ranks.
The number of new homes granted planning permission in England has fallen to its lowest level since 2008, with just 269,000 approved in the year to March, down 11 percent from the previous 12 months.
But a poll by Omnisis for the Sunday Express found 68 percent of voters believe the Government is not doing enough to ensure sufficient housing is available. Just 15 percent disagreed.
Some Government insiders are backing radical measures, including the use of green belt land for housing.
A source said: “That dodgy brushland that’s full of needles, why shouldn’t you build some flats on it?”
Former housing secretary Sir Simon Clarke has called for some parts of green belt to be designated “amber belt” so it can be built on.
He says the green belt has benefited from “branding” which convinced voters it should be preserved at all costs, even though much of the land has little environmental value.
Mr Clarke, MP for South Middlesbrough, said: “Perhaps areas of the green belt that do not have genuine environmental value could be designated as orange or amber belt, capable of being developed in exchange for substitution elsewhere.”
There is also concern that continuing high levels of immigration will make the housing shortage worse.
Net migration in 2022 hit a record high of 606,000.
Rishi Sunak last year axed plans to force councils to give planning permission to new-builds by imposing housing targets on them.
The U-turn followed threats of a rebellion by Tory MPs opposed to the policy.
Only 64 percent of English households are home owners, down from a high of 71 percent in 2003, although the proportion has barely changed in the past 10 years.
Illustrating the worry that exists across the party, senior Tory David Davis, MP for Haltemprice and Howden, has called for the creation of new “garden villages”, taking inspiration from Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City, which were constructed in the early 20th century.
Other Conservatives urging the Government to take radical action include Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet, who said there should be a tax break making it easier for people in larger homes to move to a smaller property in later life, freeing up family housing for those who need it.
Mr Mackinlay added: “We are binding up hundreds of thousands of second properties in the right places because of the tax trap.
“That could be hundreds of thousands of houses – perhaps whole years’ worth of the development that we are looking for – in the right places.”
However, pressure group Migration Watch argues slowing the growth in the UK population is the key to solving the housing crisis.
Chairman Alp Mehmet said: “If net migration – the number arriving minus those leaving – were to continue at around 600,000 per year, the UK population is projected to grow to 83 million by 2046. That is nearly 16 million people more than we are now.”
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Source: Read Full Article