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There was some encouraging news in the speech regarding house building. 200,000 homes per year is welcomed, but a shame it is to be achieved only by the end of the parliament.
Mr Miliband says that by 2020 there could be two million too few homes in Britain if we carry on as we are. Therefore, we need 200,000 homes in each year of the parliament just to be where we were in 2010.
There was little detail on the funding of the house building programme. I didn’t hear anything about capital investment, nor a commitment to genuine affordability. The ever increasing reliance on revenue subsidy through housing benefit is not sustainable.
I was disappointed that Mr Miliband has not signalled an end to the right to buy. We cannot afford the on-going haemorrhage of social housing into the private sector where a third of former council homes are now let out by private landlords at rents three times their former levels.
I liked the reference to ‘right to grow’ where local authorities can expand beyond their boundaries and into neighbouring authority areas, and the requirement on developers sitting on land to ‘use it or lose it’.
For housing anoraks, the reform of the Housing Revenue Account, announced earlier today, should enable local councils to build council houses, and that is a good thing in my opinion.
Because of the commitment to building 200,000 homes by 2020 I would give the speak 7 out of 10.
Andy Winter, BHT Chief Executive