The government has set out its new housing strategy for England, which will see councils ordered to build thousands more new houses, focusing on city-centre developments and high-rise blocks.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid revealed the measures to MPs in a White Paper. The proposals are intended to boost the “broken” housing market, with developers being pressurised to construct more affordable houses and to also build them quicker.
The government announced before that it intends to build one million new homes in England by 2020, but ministers have admitted that work is behind schedule.
A minimum of 250,000 houses need to be built each year to keep up with the demand for affordable housing, according to the government.
Included in the proposals were calls for the time allowed between planning permission and the start of building to be reduced from three years to two years, and also for councils to be required to produce up-to-date plans for housing demand.
Mr Javid said: “With [house] prices continuing to skyrocket, if we don’t act now, a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better, and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system.
“The housing market in this country is broken and the solution means building many more houses in the places that people want to live.”
However, the Labour party criticised the measures as being “feeble beyond belief” and not doing as much as had been promised.
John Healey, shadow housing minister, said: “We hoped for better and we needed better. His disappointment will desperately disappoint millions of people struggling to cope with a housing crisis. It was feeble beyond belief.
“We were promised a White Paper; we are presented with a white flag,” he continued.
The full housing white paper is available here.