House crisis to worsen as fewer homes get go-ahead

Housebuilding at its lowest since the 1920s while 5 million are on council waiting lists

Britain faces a worsening housing crisis as a dysfunctional planning system delivers new homes at just half the pace needed to match demand, an industry body will warn today.

The Home Builders Federation's (HBF) figures show planning approvals were granted for 32,900 homes between July and September, down 10 per cent on a year ago and running at little more than half the pace required to keep up with official estimates of UK household growth over the next 20 years.

The figures are in stark contrast with the boom years of the housing market in 2006 and 2007, when more than 60,000 homes were given the go-ahead on average every quarter. But the toxic combination of a mortgage lending drought, a deep recession, and planning uncertainty has seen housebuilding plunge to its lowest levels since the 1920s while some 5 million people languish on council waiting lists.

The HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley warns: "Building the homes we need would take millions off social housing waiting lists and enable beleaguered first-time buyers to buy their own home. It could also create half a million new jobs, so giving the country a huge economic boost."

Planning approvals so far this year are down 17 per cent on 2010 and average just 33,280 per quarter against 38,500 last year, the HBF's figures show. The worst-hit region was Scotland, where approvals are down by 38 per cent so far this year, although other regions, including the Midlands and the North, have also seen double-digit declines.

The worsening housing shortage comes at a time when lenders' demands for much bigger deposits are locking hundreds of thousands of would-be homeowners out of the market, as well as forcing up the cost of scarce rental properties to record levels as rock-bottom interest rates allow more families to hang on to their homes.

Housebuilders have cut back on building to reflect the mortgage lending drought and tackle debts built up in the boom, while the Coalition also threw the planning system into limbo last year by scrapping regional housing plans under its localism agenda.

July's draft National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) won more support from the industry by including proposals to speed up the system with a presumption in favour of sustainable development. But a committee of MPs will today warn the the NPPF risked tilting the balance too far in favour of the developers. Labour's Clive Betts, the chairman of the Communities and Local Government Committee, says the new framework's default approval for schemes should be stripped out of the proposals and called for extra time for councils to adopt their own local plans.

He says: "The way the framework is drafted currently gives the impression that greater emphasis should be given in planning decisions to economic growth. This undermines the equally important environmental and social elements of the planning system."

Housebuilders hit out at the committee's recommendations, which Mr Baseley says would "risk creating additional barriers to housing delivery".

He adds: "Our figures demonstrate clearly why Government must stand firm and deliver a robust planning system that provides enough land to meet the nation's housing needs. The committee's report appears to discount the seriousness of the housing crisis."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'