A housing White Paper

We are awaiting a government White Paper to set out ways to promote the construction of more homes. The government believes the UK build rate needs to be considerably higher than the current one, given the large number of people needing homes.

I agree with those who write in to say that the government should deal with the demand side as well as the supply side. The government itself has pledged to cut inward migration to tens of thousands, but believes it needs to exit the EU first so it can extend migration controls to EU citizens as well as to people coming from the rest of the world. We await a statement of policy from the new Home Secretary on how migration controls will be tightened generally and especially for EU migrants. The indications are that the government wishes to limit work permits for lower paid jobs, but leave free movement for highly qualified and well paid people, and management  coming in under intra company transfers.

We need more homes just to deal with pent up demand from people already legally settled here. There are many young people who would like a home of their own, who cannot afford to buy so they  stay living with their parents. There are many young people sharing flats and houses with others of their generation, with the cost of housing being one factor that delays establishing their own household. Many more people would like to own a home of their own who are currently living in rented accommodation. There are also elderly people whose children have left home who are put off moving to a smaller and more manageable property by the high costs of moving, including Stamp Duty as a significant deterrent.

I would be interested to hear your ideas on what further measures the government should take in its White Paper and in the budget that follows. I want to see Stamp Duty brought down to lower levels. At the expensive multi million end it has greatly reduced transactions in  dear properties, leading to a fall in revenues from the tax. For the rest of us in the normal market it is still an expensive addition to the costs of first purchase or moving.

I support the government’s enthusiasm for more factory manufacture and pre assembly to speed and improve building. We are short of many building trades for on site work. The weather often delays their task. If more components of a kitchen, bathroom, structure of a home, window assemblies and roof can be made in the factory the time taken on site can be reduced and the available skilled labour concentrated on those tasks that can only be done on site.

The main housebuilders are all taking some steps in this direction. More homes will be built around a timber pre-fabricated frame. More sub assemblies will be done in the factory for systems and components going into the home. Progress is however quite slow. Where government itself is the customer it could require faster progress in this direction. The UK housebuilding industry was badly damaged and slimmed down by the Great recession of 2008-9. Most of the companies  now are strongly cash generative, but very cautious about expanding their output and their balance sheets too much. That is why demand so outstrips supply.

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99 Comments

  1. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    To help in London the government should ensure that capital gains tax at the standard UK rate, or higher, is paid by all foreign-based owners of London flats and houses. Currently buyers from Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia etc. pay zero capital gains tax whereas second homes owned by UK residents are subject to the tax. Where I live this loophole is forcing up the price of quite modest flats which are then only available to Londoners as short-term rentals. Osborne said he was going to do this at one point but I’m not sure if it happened.

    • Hope
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      No mention of infrastructure required for the mass immigration policy. We had the “Boles bung” to change planning legislation. This gave local authorities the ability to charge NHB and CIL, instead of the money going on infrastructure to match the massive building programmed it went on ordinary la spending including exborbinant staff costs! Does the health secretary speak to the Home Secretary about immigration or the local government minster about housing and infrastructure or all of them to the treasury? I know this is what cabinet is for to get a joined up strategic approach. When will this happen? Get real JR. May has not fit a clue other than pic clap trap and no interest in the British public. Demand and Supply will never match with the deceitful mass immigration policy of the govt.

      • Hope
        Posted January 14, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Medical organizations are correct the govt needs to accept responsibility for the crisis, multiple, it has created not blame others. Cut immigration and come clean with the true figures.

  2. Prigger
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “We need more homes just to deal with pent up demand from people already legally settled here.”
    Why were they legally settled here when they still require another place of residence or would be soon in need of more places of residences which, we do not have!?

  3. Caterpillar
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Usual list that probably requires data,

    (i) the role of money creation in the UK leading to asset speculation on the demand (and alternatives) side and presumably a tendency to lend to larger projects/firms than small-medium on the supply side. (There is probably a undamental issue in banking and money creation in UK)
    (ii) release of land for building
    (iii) tax on dormant building land
    (iv) public transport and services provision to released land (more ‘garden’ cities) – people should want to live there
    (v) more Bournvilles?
    (vi) guaranteed government purchase for some types of property if not sold into private market (i.e. a price support – a nuclear option!) [there may be a market failure such that profit maximisation for large builders is not overlapping with what is most required]
    (vii) consider (vi) instead of affordable housing requirements

    On demand side:-
    (A) increase rent-a-room tax break for lodgers over 3 months, drop tax break to zero otherwise.
    (B) Change form of demand to less resource intensive supply e.g. publicise compact/small living and compact living furniture (design + service and green space provision)

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      And perhaps something like the Australian system restricting foreign ownership / non-PR to new build.

  4. E.S Tablishment
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    “There are many young people sharing flats and houses with others of their generation” .Yes this idea is normalised in our minds and encouraged by the enormously funny “Friends” US TV sit-com.
    As has been remarked by US journalists, those” friends” would not have remained so for long due to the rental cost nor would they have been able to find such spacious accommodation in that area in the first place.
    Requiring people outside their family group to share accommodation was a post war attitudinal necessity due to the foreign expertise of the Luftwaffe . There can be no place, we should not make accommodation in our minds for this disgusting contempt for human beings to go on in our up-to-date civilised society.

    • David
      Posted January 16, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Not just young people, I am in my 40s and I still need to have a lodger to pay the mortgage. Friends in the 40s still live at home and we all well paid jobs.
      One simple solution in the South East would be stop giving housing to people who don’t work there.

  5. Mortar
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The experience of prefabs in the UK and the later housing by another name but were still prefabs have cost the tax-payer dearly, very dearly! They still are costing as I speak in my neighbourhood.

    They need erecting. Local Authorities have been stripped of their experts in building maintenance and inspection. But even at the time, in the 50s,60s and yes 1970s when LAs were awash with such experts, these things were banged up and the contracting firms…guess what..went bankrupt. A few years later it was discovered, surprise, surprise, there were major defects coming to light. Massive corrections had to be made costing many millions up and down the country. All paid for by the tax-payer, some have needed to be demolished ( very expensive ) at tax-payer expense and others still standing needing every conceivable addition thermally and strengthening internally.
    A thoroughly bad idea.

    Reply We are not talking about replicating the concrete bolted together style prefabs

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Why aren’t we? They could be replicated using modern methods. Things have moved on since 1946.

      • Mortar
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Please read the dates again in my comment. Human nature has not changed since 1946,except where the Stockholm Syndrome is concerned and even with rewriting of wartime history.). Prefabricated houses have been produced since 1946 under a different name and are produced all over the world. They are erected by companies given contracts ( there’s the main flaw )

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Mortar,

      Still, given that there is a steel industry ‘to support’, one wonders whether the BISF steel frame houses could be revisited.

      • Mortar
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Prefabs were built in the first place because of bombed out housing and the lack of houses built due to males being otherwise engaged. Plus people got fruity in the war.This is not wartime. No need for shortcuts. Merely a need to stop immigration and our population will deplete naturally by hundreds of thousands per year leaving vacant housing. Problem solved.

  6. The Prangwizard
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    New houses are being built in my village as in just about every other village in England. I think the only prefabricated element is the false chimney stack and pot that the more expensive ones have. Look nice – yes. Could do better? Certainly. I hope we do more than this for ourselves elsewhere.

    But guess what, our government is looking to Germany for solutions. Short-term thinking at the expense of our manufacturing. Again.

    Must be seen to be ‘doing something’ immediate though. Our political leaders see no benefit for themselves if they think longer term.

    • Pragmatist
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      The building industry in the UK nor elsewhere does not have an interest in erecting buildings which will last and /or will not require ongoing maintenance. Local Authorities do not have an interest in caring beyond the next local election especially in rock solid one-party areas.
      You’ll find there are excellent blocks of flats built in the former USSR which unlike our own are warmer, cheaper to heat, do not suffer condensation and rising damp where you do not even need to open a window even when cooking or bathing with hot water. The triple glazed windows do not steam up or mist even though they are made of glass and not upvc. The reason amongst others. …their local gangsters in charge of housing in contracting enterprises in their local authorities got punished sufficiently to deter dishonesty and could not simply go bankrupt and disappear. Also their building regs were and are far superior to those of the UK .

  7. Old Albion
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Concreting over England to house immigrants ……………………

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      How many of the problems we seem to have; housing, NHS, schools etc, are all down to the benighted policy of importing several hundred thousand foreigners every year. Let’s remove the right to settle.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      OA,

      Kind of makes one sick doesn’t it.

      The likes of Corbyn tell us how fantastic immigration is for the UK, but they never seem to touch upon the diminishing quality of life for the rest of us that hundreds of thousands of people coming to this country each year, bring with them. And that is measured in numerous ways, not just with figures at the bottom line of a balance sheet.

      And all those pro-EU environmentalists who acquiesce to immigration make me laugh. They decry the inordinate amount of pressure upon our wildlife and green spaces from house building, and constantly draw our attention to the plight of endangered species, but yet they want to shackle us to an outmoded policy of free movement that not only has a dramatic impact upon our own natural history, it diminishes the prosperity of other countries as their brightest and best seek pastures new.

      ………………..and they would like the rest of us to think of them as intelligent people.

      Tad

    • Graham
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Tut tut to us all.

      Can’t go around mentioning this even though it is a root cause of demand and price increases in urban areas.

      Really resent that my very well qualified daughter gives over a vast amount of her salary to live in London whereas others just have to be foreign to get accommodation for free.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    One of the main problems with housing costs is the way money is created. If money is permitted to be created out of thin air inflation in the areas where those funds are spent is inevitable.

    QE has raised assets prices, mortgage debt has raised house prices

    • Ken moore
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      ZIRP policies and the glut of cheap money has caused the surge in house prices. That was another of Gordon Browns excellent and well though through ideas. This and an unsustainable boom in population.

  9. Leo Savantt
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Building ones own home in the UK is presently made difficult by the State. Firstly obtaining planning permission for a self build is both complex and the rules imposed discourage innovative design. Furthermore some local authorities seem to be ideologically opposed to self building and make the process as difficult as they can.

    Additionally the charge that local authorities levy on self builders, which purportedly is supposed to finance subsidized accommodation, but too often just disappears in council profligacy, means that housing oneself becomes prohibitively expensive for many. What amounts to a tax on people who want to increase the housing stock is counter productive; it contributes to higher property prices for the potential builder as well as the wider population.

    A small but significant improvement could be facilitated by a/ changing planning rules to foster more self building b/ removing charges for doing so.

    On a broader level, stamp duty should be abolished, tax discourages behaviour, taxing people for buying a home discourages them, significantly. An 800,000 pound house, which in the South East is hardly a palace, incurs a 30,000 pounds of stamp duty. To earn and save 30,000 pounds after tax is quite a feat.

    Additionally since a home is an essential, VAT on the costs and materials for home building should also be abolished. Inheritance tax obviously also impacts and equally obviously is completely immoral, that too should go. A 100% tax rebate on mortgage payments might also be considered.

    In the long run the above mentioned suggestions would also help reduce the State’s obligations in housing benefit as the more people who can afford to house themselves the less the housing benefit bill and the greater the Council Tax receipts. The social advantages would also not be negligible, recipients of housing benefit are more likely to be “consumers” of the criminal justice system, as well as suffering from family breakdown, drug dependency and unemployment, as well as making more demands on the NHS.

    • mickc
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you. Local Authorities are totally against self build and even conversion of former agricultural or other buildings. They are in thrall to the big builders, and their planners are in effect planners for the big firms.
      Until this situation is remedied, the self builder is at a severe disadvantage, and true competition in the market is not possible.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Self build used to be an option, for many years those who purchased land and built their own home accounted for about 25,000 homes per year in decades past.

    I do not know the present figure now, but certainly I do not hear so much about the above being completed locally.

    The high cost of land, additional expenses to the local authority for so called planning gain (old 106 agreements) and lack of planning permission for single plots has not helped in this regard.

    It would seem that if it ain’t big it ain’t beautiful now with regards to sites, and really nothing could be further from the truth, because whilst you get economy of scale, you tend to get very dense housing numbers with small rooms and gardens.

    • David Priice
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      During the referendum I had the opportunity to visit different parts of Lower Earley, a large development in Wokingham that has been under construction since the late 70’s. I was struck by the differences in parts of the area and you could see the sequence of development by how dense the houses are and the change in the size of gardens, if any.

      • alan jutson
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        David

        If you were to visit Wokingham now you would see new developments (presently under construction) which are even more densely developed with even more narrow roads and less parking space than those you mention.

        Afraid it seems its the sign of the times, the old guidelines of the past for sensible development requirement minimums and maximums for comfortable living, have been well and truely dumped.

  11. Richard1
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Re yesterday’s topic there was an excellent article in the FT by the City figure Stanislas Yassukovich explaining in simple and articulate language the irrelevance of the single market to financial services, and urging the Government – and the City – not to waste any diplomatic capital negotiating access for financial services as there is no threat to it. The FT is behind a paywall but here’s the link:-

    http://on.ft.com/2idDkym

  12. Anonymous
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Of course, for there to be a balanced society we need more schools, more power stations, more hospitals… more jobs affording of good quality housing.

    To build houses without satisfying these other requirements is irresponsible.

    Governments really need to stop listening to actors and actresses or there is going to be big trouble.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Indeed a low paid immigrant might only pay tax/NI of perhaps three thousand pounds. Yet he needs a home (say 15KPA), schooling for two children (24KPA) , roads, police, hospitals, doctors, social services, defence, the local authority and his share of all the rest of the bloated and inept UK government. How is this to be paid for with the £3K PA and he/she might get more than that back in direct benefits anyway.

      They are clearly a net liability to the economy and lower GDP per cap, certainly in the short term. We need to be far more selective.

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Not to mention the greencrap.

      • Ben Kelly
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Do quote realistic figures for your claims @logic! Your point is valid but when you indulge in hyperbole you discredit not just yourself but the rest of us who advance those arguments with accurate figures.

        Two kids at school costs the taxpayer from £6K to £14K per year depending upon which local authority is paying the school, the level of English spoken at home and the deprivation (relative) of the family. The children will be allocated more if they are statemented SEN and the school qualifies.

        • miami.mode
          Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          Agree with you there BK. LL fails to realise that taxes such as petrol tax and VAT are also included in everybody’s total tax liability and not just NI and Income Tax.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Those figure do not include the LEA and Government education overheads, free school dinners, transport or the capital cost of the buildings more of which are clearly needed if the demand increases.

          Someone on minimum wage is unlikely to pay much in the way of VAT or fuel taxes. Most will probably go on rent, children’s clothes and food. Some perhaps sent back home overseas too.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Well we certainly do not need silly but very restricted flagship government schemes that give some people a house at a 20% discount (that is paid for by others who get nothing at all).

    What is needed is a large relaxation of planning laws and the OTT expensive and restrictive green crap building regulations, a reduction in the absurd protection of some trees that prevent some developments (a tree being more important than a home for someone it seems), a reduction in the absurd up to 15% stamp duty, easy hire and fire, cheaper utility connections (they can often be a complete rip off), cheaper energy (which reduces building material cost and building costs), more and cheaper development finance from the banks who are currently very expensive and very restrictive, get rid of centrally dictated wage controls and enforced pensions.

    Also get rid of the planning gain taxes and back door taxes that forces developers to provide social housing as a charity activity.

    As usual get the government out of the way. But T May (who is clearly a lefty, greencrap socialist who hates free markets) thinks yet more of the suffocating state sector is a jolly good thing.

    There is no reason why some should get subsidised housing and other not. Social rents should go up to market rates and the money used to provide more housing. Those that need help with rent get it anyway. Reduce all the red tape for landlords too and they will also build and extend to provide more housing too. Rather than taxing them to death (on profits they have not even made) with Osborne’s bonkers mugging of them.

    In short get rid of Theresa May or have her brain reprogrammed to make her a proper free market, small state Conservative.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Also get rid of Hammond and the many people in the treasury who are still sticking to Osborne’s dire tax borrow and piss down the drain, central wage control, pension mugging, landlord mugging agenda. With ever more stupid and complex taxes at rates well over the Laffer rate.

      One thing that could also usefully be done is to allow pension funds to invest in residential property development and investment. Also increase pensions fund pot limits which are far too low thanks to the dire Osborne.

      • hefner
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        There is nothing (as far as I understand it, correct please if I am wrong) that prevents pension funds from investing in REITs. In fact it seems that a lot of them have a sizeable share of their funds in REITs.
        The problem (as pointed above by Caterpillar above) might be more about “builders” sitting for years on “dormant building land”.
        Should local councils be given more right of preemption on these land parcels or more power of fining substantially such behaviour?

        • mickc
          Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          No, Councils should have less power, not more! Thay are the ones in the pocket of the big builders. Any more power given to them would be used against small developers, not the big ones.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 14, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          Yes they can invest in REIT’s but far more efficient to let individuals to invest or develop residential property directly or use the funds as mortgage funds. Why not?

  14. stred
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The benefits of system building against conventional have been explored for the last 50 years in the UK. Concrete precast wall units were used in the high rise flats in London, later demolished, though still used with better detailing. Timber frame prefabrication is more successful and has been extensively used by the big housebuilders and site construction by small builders. It allows high insulation and rapid enclosure. Roof trusses annd flooring units for flats have been prefabricated since the 1950s.

    However, the advantage over conventional block and brick construction is not always proved. The time taken to put up the masonry shell is a relatively small part of the process, taking only a week or two if labour is available. The long delays and costs are in the planning, regulation, services and site preparation. Finding sites and going through the approval procedures is so difficult that only large builders with specialist teams can succeed.

    Last year I sent a superimposed graph showing ‘housing affordability- Nationwide’ over net immigration. The lines were very similar with only an improved affordability following the banking crisis and price falls. The lines of both are now back to a peak. When the lefty commentators say that we are falling for racist, or now ‘hate,’ propaganda and that it is only government failure causing the problem, it makes me sad to think such people are in politics. To solve the problem we need to build 500k houses pa and in the already crowded parts of the country where there are jobs.

  15. Rt.HonDigger-picker
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    So we don’t have enough healthcare; good teaching; we do not have enough housing.
    So, hospitals were brought in by the Norman-French in 1066. But were here previously
    So, we have had centuries of formal school-based education
    So, we have had some form of housing for thousands of years.

    How come MPs are not au fait? Do they need the basics of the questions driven into their craniums with a digger pick?

  16. Bert Young
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    A very sensible blog today . The root cause of the housing problem is numbers . We simply have not the space or the means to bridge the gap between need and supply . The top end of the market has been virtually brought to a halt by the property tax imposition and this reverberates all the way down . Like all taxes , the higher the charges less are the receipts to the revenue .

    Construction methods do need to be changed and – as John suggests , a more factory inspired approach needs to be introduced . Hufhaus and other organisations have shown just how effective this method can be .

    Whatever is done must not impair , or in any way reduce , the green belt . The enjoyment that life can offer is featured in our love of the outdoors and it would be criminal to deny this to the public .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      There really is plenty of land and we can build up or down too. It is just supply and demand at the end of the day. We need more homes in many areas (rented or bought) or fewer people.

      Get the government out of the way. But the foolish T May thinks government is the solution!

    • ChrisF
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Some of the HufHaus designs are seriously good. They’re a very good example of pre-fab

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Not cheap though, they make rather little economic sense outside a few high cost areas.

        • ChrisF
          Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          @lifelogic

          Yup, they are serious bits of kit, but surely someone (in the UK) has a product-line to compete that isn’t necessarily at the high end of the spectrum..?

  17. a-tracy
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    “The weather often delays their task”

    It makes you wonder how a home in Northern Russia or Canada or Greenland ever gets built? Why can’t we work things out in the UK? Is it because as a Country we have become so resistant to change or is it our planners in Council departments that are resistant to new ideas and change.

    You can’t take in 350,000 extra people per year and not create a housing problem if these people can’t afford to pay for new homes to be mortgaged and built for them, then they seem to become homeless get to the top of housing ladders and people whose parents are here get stuck outside of the system.

    We talk about building more and more but just how many more homes are built in London where the majority of immigrants go because I see hundreds of thousands of new homes there. Some of the areas outside London seem to get low income, claiming immigrant families who need social housing because they eventually bring their children over in order to go up the housing list and are then given priority which then causes flames of problems in the housing estates.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      It is not just a *housing* problem. EVERYTHING needs to be provided.

      Estates are being built around here with no extra provisions whatsoever. Not even wider roads !

      • hefner
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        I am completely with you on that if you are thinking about the road between Shinfield and Spencer’s Cross near Lower Earley. A large number of houses have been/are still being built in the area and apart from the continuing work at the Black Boy roundabout, little other work has been done before the developments are/were made available to new owners/tenants. The necessary work on the roads will certainly be carried out (one day) but when done it will create major road blocks and traffic jams in the rush hours in these areas. Lack of proper planning?

  18. Mark B
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The government itself has pledged to cut inward migration to tens of thousands, but believes it needs to exit the EU first so it can extend migration controls to EU citizens as well as to people coming from the rest of the world.

    The immigration from non-EU countries both in skilled and non-skilled workers id far higher than from EU Countries. So the governments track record overall is not very good.

    The construction industry is not necessarily suffering from a skills shortage. What has increased costs is the governments own, but necessary strategy regarding Building Information Modelling (BIM)* . This is not necessarily a bad thing but, for many companies, both big and small, it requires investment in many areas including training.

    Many private developers are mandating BIM into their projects. They do not need to but, BIM has shown to reduce costs and profitability. But this takes time and resources on the part of everyone. Time and resources some do not have.

    I did not vote to leave the EU because I wanted to reduce immigration from the EU. I voted to leave because I believe that those that I vote for should be the ones that govern this country. I am against MASS uncontrolled immigration without the full knowledge and consent of the people – which no government has ever sought.

    The government can put in place a number of measures to control EU immigration. EU citizens have the right to enter the UK a stay here for up to 3 months with no employment. After which, you must either find employment or leave. The problem is, the UK government does not apply the rules of the EU properly.**

    * https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/34710/12-1327-building-information-modelling.pdf

    ** http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/residence/residence-rights/workers/index_en.htm

    I do sincerely hope that our kind host puts up my post today. He seems to favour others, particularly multiple-posters who do not always stay on topic and / or those who post to their own websites given sometimes false and misleading information.

    The links above are from HMG itself and are relevant to today’s topic.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Sorry should read ” . . . reduce costs and increase profitability”

  19. Newmania
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    This is typical of the dishonesty of John Redwood. I try to engage constructively but it just drives me scatty to see the people who are supposed to be taking decisions on our behalf devote what intelligence they have to trying to find any way encourage bigotry instead of solve anything .
    Joh knows perfectly well that the housing shortage ( soi disant ) is not caused by EU workers most of whom are young and rent privately. In any case, high house prices are caused by too many people BEING ABLE TO AFFORD HOUSES not the reverse . In the North of England the market price of Property is now often below the reinstatement price , they cannot safely get any cheaper
    London house prices may be driven up by foreign investors to some extent but he is , not , I hope going to tell then take their money elsewhere . Council housing lists may be affected by migrants form the subcontinent and their families but we have had every possible power to control this immigration and Theresa May, despite a strong mandate and clear instructions failed utterly
    If he would like to tell us what Theresa May should have been doing I’d lurve to klnow .Reducing stamp duty will increase house prices and the cost of housing is only marginally affected by construction methods .
    The fundamental problem with housing is regional economic imbalance not foreigners and their wicked ways and especially not the EU workers to whom we owe what growth we have managed
    Young people …well as we know young people have had their lives blighted by selfish retired political hobbyists . Bit late now

    • Iain Moore
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Had you considered the possibility that if EU migrants can’t afford to buy a property, and have to rent, then someone had to buy the property for them to rent? It is the same ludicrous thinking that somehow suggests that when a Council house is sold it is removed from the housing stock. It is still there and people still live in it, just as migrants don’t bring their houses with them, in the end it is all about numbers, regardless of how it is split up between social housing, owners and renters, and if you are stuffing people into the country in the region of a third of a million a year , then there is going to be problems.

      • acorn
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        When a Council House is sold, it is removed from the “rental stock”. The stock that is occupied by the two lowest quintiles of the population. Selling Council Houses at a discount, to tenants who are not supposed to be able to afford to buy, is the economics of the Thatcherite madhouse.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Acorn

          “Selling Council Houses at a discount, to tenants who are not supposed to be able to afford to buy, is the economics of the Thatcherite madhouse.”

          Whereas rich Labour peers & trade union fat cats, not to mention dodgy BBC DJ’s living in low rent council houses for their entire lifetime is fine I assume. You might like to consider that when a house is occupied it is also “removed from the rental stock”

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      High house prices are caused by too few owners selling them. In anticipation that they are going to go higher – Yes. Theresa May will do nothing about migration but the people were given a say on the EU and stopping EU migration is a start. It’s our whole establisment’s fault for repeatedly ignoring the people and calling them – guess what – bigoted.

      There is nothing bigoted about it. We used due democratic process and legal democratic argument with legal democratic language – otherwise we would have been outlawed long ago.

      Nor riots and precious little evidence of race crime despite Remain attempts to find it.

      • Elaine Turner
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Maybe people are not selling because in an era of high employment, the imperative to move isn’t there?

        I think most people buy a home for that reason – it is a home and not just a house. They would be foolish to buy where there were obvious problems that might cause a property to devalue, but I doubt they are sitting on their houses just waiting for value to accrue – after all it just makes other properties that much more expensive to buy.

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          Elaine Turner – I think that dynamic has changed somewhat in the London SE market. There is a paucity of housing up for sale because people are putting up with crowded and unpleasant conditions bouyed by the knowledge of their huge equity. They want to move up the ladder or out altogether but cannot bring themselves to do it.

          Perhaps it is the equity itself which is making them happy.

          They will not move to less crowded regions for fear of losing their membership of the London set.

    • Deborah
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Gosh.
      “the housing shortage ( soi disant ) is not caused by EU workers most of whom are young and rent privately”
      – Whether they are young or old, whether they buy or rent privately, they still occupy houses that are then not available to UK workers and thus help create a shortage.
      Basic mathematics.

      • Chris S
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Exactly !

      • stred
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        NM. As a small private landlord bigot, who prefers to let to EU tenants, I can tell you that house prices depend on affordability and availability. It is total numbers and belief in continued price rise along with availablity of mortgages and rent levels to pay for BTL that counts. How a city slicker who makes a load from easy access to the EU can come to your conclusion must make the rest of us question whether it is worth featherbedding them.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      284,000 EU migrants 2016 – so no effect on an already crowded market. I see.

      If someone is bidding alone for an item in an auction they will get a good price. It takes only one other bidder to drive the price out of their reach.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Worse still, what if both of you are being offered government money and loans at a cheap rate ? Essencially it comes down to how much risk you are prepared to take on.

        If your only place of residence is the UK, then that is it, all your eggs are in one basket. But if you have property in another country and then you cannot pay for your loan or rent, all you have to do is go back to your country of origin.

    • rose
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      “Joh knows perfectly well that the housing shortage ( soi disant ) is not caused by EU workers most of whom are young and rent privately. ”

      This wishful preconception is way out of date. People originally from other continents who have very large families come here on their EU passports from other EU countries. They get priority in housing because of their large families. The numbers in the English cities are huge. Since the latest accessions, there are large families of non-working Europeans coming here who also get priority in housing. There may now be an additional increase because of a sense of urgency about getting in before we leave. No-one is blaming these people or hating them. They are simply availing themselves of an opportunity. But the politicians who have arranged all this are quite rightly blamed, as are the broadcasters, lawyers, and charities who encourage it.

    • Chris S
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Newmania :

      Accusing our host of dishonesty is stretching his hospitality way too far.

      The fact that he was prepared to publish this post demonstrates a generosity of spirit that I certainly don’t share.

      I suggest you should apologise and retract the accusation. However, if you are determined to be insulting to our host or anyone else posting here, I suggest you find another place to vent your anger.

  20. Hope
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    The liblabCon mass immigration policy has come home Tory roost. Public services overwhelmed. No housing crisis, mass immigration crisis. Hunt did not give a detailed reply as you suggest, he did not examine how infrastructure spending by local authorities to see if enough schools and hospitals are being built to match massive building. He did not examine if Local authorities were providing good value for money. Wooden frame homes built in flood planes is not a good idea, yet continues. Your dopey govt has not got a strategic clue how to run a country. May in office for six months, o change to immigration it continues far in excess of the figures she produces, 860,000 NI numbers issued last year comapered to her record estimate of 330,000! Again, no mention of the most significant point in your blog, once more treated in isolation and ignorance of what is the cause for the demand. Supply will never match this amount of staggering demand unless the mass immigration policy is changed. The same demand and supply applies to the international health service, not mentioned by Hint. Hardly honest and detailed as you claimed.

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    The Osborne agenda of red tap & over taxing landlords (plus restricting and over regulating buy to let mortgages) is driving up rents for tenants and severely restricting the supply of rented properties, pushing up rents still further.

    This is hugely misguided and grossly unfair to tenants relative to buyers. Where is the rationale in this? But then where was the rationale in almost anything the economic illiterate Osborne did? The system should be fiscally neutral.

    Buying, after all, only really makes any sense if you are sure you want to live in the same home for quite some time. This especially with the current absurdly high stamp duty rates and the many other moving costs. Many people need rental properties to provide short term easy come easy go housing for job mobility. Why attack this fiscally, it clearly damages the economy and productivity.

    Is that the Hammond plan?

  22. JoolsB
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Why not send all immigrants who need homes to live in Scotland? After all Sturgeon and the SNP say they want more immigration but let Scotland pay for the building of the new homes needed from their over generous block grant from English taxpayers. Problem solved.

    • turboterrier
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      @ JoolsB

      Now that is a very good idea, prepare for the real Scots to come charging back to the South.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Most do not want to live there ! London and the South East, that is where the real jobs are.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Jools B

      Yes, great idea. We have a very large field they could start with. John, how are we supposed to build enough homes to cater for nearly a third of a million people coming in every year and not only that but cater for them on the NHS and schooling etc? Our doctors and hospitals are overstretched now and yet we just keep welcoming in thousands more every year. Madness. Roads and infrastructure just cannot cope. There are so many disgusting looking brown field sites and large buildings that are listed that could be used instead of our green fields.

  23. ChrisF
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    It’ll be interesting to see how many Landlords with multiple-house portfolios are forced to give them up due to the recent tax changes, as this might help in some small way (although not hugely, admittedly)

    One of the problems in the Guildford area (where there are rumours of large-scale development, as with many other places), is the distinct lack of infrastructure to manage the additional house-holds. The roads are totally static on a constant basis already and there has been a lot of flats being built, with no off-street parking, so there is a waiting list for a (paid for of course) parking space outside ones house.

    What is the point of building yet more houses when the infrastructure (not just roads, but school places, Doctors, etc, etc) simply isn’t there to cope?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Well there is a clever idea called the infrastructure charge, which applies to house builders and stops houses being built due to the extra cost.
      Meantime we have people coming into the country who use the infrastructure and have paid nothing. Builders don’t use infrastructure, people do.

  24. Northerner
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    There is overcrowding in jails too. For people living in Wales, the north of England and Scotland who normally would warrant a severe last caution that their next appearance before the court would entail a jail sentence, they could instead be threatened they would be taken to London and live there. in a built up environment. They could be taken to see where they would exist.
    No I am not joking or attempting satire. I have had friends and associates in London over the years. I have stayed in private homes not of anything short of higher middle class and entertained with outside events. A goddam awful place if you’ll excuse my American.
    Not fit to house any human being there.

  25. Antisthenes
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The major restriction to matching supply to demand on housing is the planning laws, rules and regulations. NIMBYs, environmentalists and politicians have colluded to restrict the supply each for their own misguided reasons. Certainly the housing market needs an element of control but like so many other things that are regulated it is far too draconian. Exacerbating the problem are other interventions that oscillate between inflating demand and supply and sometimes both at the same time. Government attempts to control the market under the misconception that they can do better and at the same time to keep a myriad of vested interest happy.

    Taxes are also an intervention too far but they are a necessary evil and have to be applied but should be solely for the purpose of raising revenue for government to function properly. Not as with stamp duty as it is currently applied and that is to influence demand. Inheritance tax also impacts on the market as the passing on of wealth to children allows more to own their own homes. Government and vested interests are the problem in not just the housing markets but in many aspects that effect our lives. Both should not be allowed to influence any market and much more besides. Their actions revolve around pleasing narrow interests that ultimately benefit the few at the expense of the many.

  26. Christopher Hudson
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    If you’re in the business of building homes and the price you wish to eventually sell those homes for depends for a substantial amount on the supply. If I was such a person or company of several companies banding together to form an unofficial cartel then I wouldn’t be falling over myself to increase that supply. Just a thought.
    Price fixing, supermarkets, energy companies, they’re all at it

  27. turboterrier
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Housing has always been a problem as it is not only the land and build costs, for far too long sites have been developed with no consideration to the infrastructure to support the new developments. In West Sussex the development between Littlehampton and Shoreham is massive and the price to be paid for that is gridlock traffic, hospital, schools, policing, SF broadband and council services being swamped with the new influx of residents.

    New housing is only a solution it is not the whole problem. Its success is totally dependent on the infrastructure and jobs. People buy a new house and then have to commute to their work, you only have to see the damage caused to lives on the daily commuter services to London run by Southern Railways to appreciate that 21st century infrastructure is essential in giving people a better quality of life and working experiences.

    The majority of people in this country see fracking as a solution to the madness called our energy policies but you have the protesters who will cause all sorts of problems before we can fully explore the advantages of that process. It is the same with housing everybody wants it as long as it does not impact on their lives so the planning stages can be difficult. Local authorities have got to supported in biting the bullet to open designated areas for new build capable of the infrastructure required to support that development. More community type developments are required that incorporate a school, medical centre with a minor injuries capability and schooling but above all working possibilities. Be it small industrial units for the self employed as stores and offices or to run their internet business at affordable business rates or attracting multi national companies to open up satellite branches.

    Prefabrication of housing units is the only real way to accelerate the build time and properties have got to be designed to enable that the internal elements of construction are all in place so it becomes an almost plug in scenario when delivered to site very much along the lines of the style of mobile homes one see’s being transported to site virtually every day in the holiday coastal areas. The days of bricks and mortar construction are diminishing purely of the fact that speed is essential. Anything that shortens start to key handover will have to be adopted as in all businesses but especially in construction time is money.

    Properties close to rivers and flood planes should be designed with the ground floor utilised for storage and garage areas with the main living area on the first floor level 3 metres above round level. Working with British Gas as a Housing Development Officer I worked closely with developers and one of the best ideas I thought for providing cheap affordable housing was from an architect with Balfour Beatty Homes who said back in 1995 the best starter home is a square box with minimal internal walls to accommodate the basic kitchen, bathroom and bedroom with retrofit flat packs to change the layout as personal and financial circumstances change. With factory built units this should be an easier option for both speed and costs. Not everybody is in the position to purchase a new property where all the bells and whistles come as standard. Ordering a new home should be tailored to meet the pocket of the purchaser. Bit like buying a new car select the model you can afford.

  28. English Pensioner
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    A major problem is not so much the building of more houses, but the failure to provide or update the necessary infrastructure, particularly roads, schools and medical facilities.
    Where I live, there are plans to build something like another 200o houses over five years, but there are no plans published as to what is to be done about doctors’ surgeries where the two local practices are already over subscribed and where there are severe parking problems. The two nearest schools already some have temporary buildings, but there seems no suggestion of any major expansion or new schools. As for parking in the town, the town council’s solution is apparently to increase parking charges!
    We already have problems with flooding of some roads due to increased surface water following building elsewhere which uses the same main drains as were built some 60 years ago and now have insufficient capacity. Similarly, I’m told that the electricity supply is near breaking point, although the official view seems to be that electricity consumption should fall due to all the energy saving devices!
    I have no objection to the building, as such, but I do believe those living locally need to be assured that all the knock-on effects are being addressed, but as far as I can find out from my councillor they are all someone else’s problems.
    Great!

  29. ian
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I have wrote about this before and of cos you took no notice so i am not writing about it again but if you go to the singapore housing board which a island like hear you might fine some ideas.

  30. Elaine Turner
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure we are ever going to be in a position to build a great many houses or the infrastructure to go with them when there are so many NIMBY’s about. Maybe we should be considering ways to address the concerns of the NIMBY’s, offering incentives to them in someway, if they just stop objecting to everything and consider the benefits.

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      What benefits Elaine, around the east Midlands where I live there is masses of building going on, the roads are crowded, hospital appointments 4 weeks and the local hospital running at 100%.
      Please detail any benefit from trying to accommodate half a million immigrants annually.
      When will it end?
      When the standard of living is so bad no one will want to live here.

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        ….doctors appointmants…..

  31. ChrisS
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Successive Governments are entirely to blame for the present problems in the housing market including the most recent Conservative ones led by Cameron and May.

    First of all we have excessive inward migration dating back to the Blair years.

    No politician seems to want to make the obvious connection that net inward migration of 330,000 pa requires at least 100,000 additional housing units every year. The shortfall in current housebuilding appears to be about 120,000 units pa. If net migration was reduced to “the tens of thousands” as promised the gap would then easily be bridged.

    As a recently retired IFA, I can assure readers that the Cameron Government encouraged mortgage regulators to make it much harder for both first time buyers and home movers to get a mortgage. That’s why FTBs have such a problem getting started. If the old rules were applied, income would not be a major problem for most couples wishing to buy a starter home. Since 2000, repossessions have been running at very low levels so the extra restrictions are hared to justify.

    Both Osbourne and Hammond have made every effort to squeeze the Buy-To-Let landlord out of the market. They simply don’t understand that lifestyle changes makes home ownership too inflexible for millions of younger people today.

    There will never be enough public sector homes built for rent and I would argue that this is not a business the state should be in anyway. The Buy To Let sector is the most efficient way of providing rented accommodation that is flexible enough for the modern lifestyle of the under 35s

    It isn’t just the well publicised tax measures like the special tax treatment that Osbourne introduced for higher rate landlords, or the relentless increase in CGT that started under Brown, its the small things such as enabling councils to charge full Council tax on empty properties after only one month rather than six.

    It is physically impossible to relet a vacant property within a month. We have a portfolio of properties and this now costs us an additional £2-3,000 pa in council tax. Why can’t we even get the single occupancy discount ? It’s a squalid, nasty little punitive measure.

    Whatever sector of the housing market you choose to look at, Governments have made it worse not better.

    The Conservative Party needs citizens who are Home Owners and BTL Landlords : They are naturally Conservative voters.

    So, Mr Redwood, can you explain why your leaders profess to want to improve the housing market yet do exactly the opposite ? Why are they so keen to screw BTL investors into the ground ?

  32. Endless Joy
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Sweet to hear comrades of Labour’s Tristram Hunt were thinking of throwing him a going away party then it struck them (!)

  33. Original Richard
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    “The government itself has pledged to cut inward migration to tens of thousands, but believes it needs to exit the EU first so it can extend migration controls to EU citizens as well as to people coming from the rest of the world.”

    Why can the government not curb non-EU immigration ahead of our exit from the EU and hence start to implement its election pledge ?

    Whilst most MPs recognise that we have overcrowding in hospitals, schools, prisons, roads and public transport, a housing shortage, and looming power and police shortages, very few are willing to admit publicly that this is largely caused by massive immigration and hence are unable to provide any solution.

    Those voters who realise that open borders and “free” (non-contributory) healthcare and welfare benefits are incompatible and wish these ideals to continue, as well as avoiding the problems of overpopulation, need to seek for and vote in MPs who are prepared to enable legislation to end our current high levels of immigration.

  34. forthurst
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    When I was a young man, someone from class C1 and above, could marry in their twenties, buy a house and raise a family on a single salary; at that time, the average family ultimately would have 2.2 children; the consequences of the eggregious policies of both labour and conservative mean that the English are nowhere near replacing themselves and are themselves being replaced by peoples whose ancestors have made far more modest contributions to the advancement of civilisation ; this is the most important issue facing our country, even more so than going off to the ME and fighting wars on behalf of rebarbative asiatics.

    The proportion of phoney asylum seekers is very high; once we get out the EU we can withdraw from the EU asylum law and we should also withdraw from that promoted by the UN; the government has a responsibility to the people of this country and to none else, and that includes accommodating their population surpluses, fighting their wars and saving their planet. International initiatives are inherently destructive to the autonomy of the nation state and this is why they exist.

    The government is clearly making little headway in dealing with an oversupply of new people from the third world; it needs to abolish the right to family reunions here and needs to make far more effort to remove those who are not entitled to be here on any basis.

    As to housing supply, various measures can be taken to alleviate the supply side: Abolish ‘affordable housing’ quotas in new developments; these lead to endless arguments between builders and planners and do not increase the overall supply. Stop ‘inward investment’ in private housing; a large development, locally, was 50% purchased off plan from the Far East. Make buy-to-letters an endangered species; businesses need investment, not existing housing stock. Put high taxes on second homes where there is insufficient supply. Stop development in rural communities on prime farm land; these are required for food production. Increase the density of housing in cities by building higher and denser, accommodating green spaces in parks, not in an amongst buildings e.g Manhattan.

  35. ian
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Of cos the first thing is money, where to get it from and as holiday let owners who have lots of money are being given 9 billion a year in tax handouts i would suggest that you start there and cut that in half and use the savings on affordable homes but i don’t see that happening because it would upset a lot of MP and MPs friends, if anything they will look for ways to increase the handouts they get instead and leave more property standing empty for months on end while avoiding IHT as well.

  36. Saint Builder
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    When was the last Housing scandal?

    I am thinking in terms notorious landlords, house-builders, fraudulent giving of contracts etc. etc

    Silence…. in any aspect or department in our multi-billion, trillion Pound country should signal something is happening about which we should know.

  37. John
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Looking at some of the population predictions they would need to build something like 7 million homes in the next dozen to 20 years. That would ruin England. The parks would have to be paved as the footfall would just create mud bath. Places like the Peak District would just be like a long paved London train platform at rush hour. So many people crammed in together to get fresh air but angry and noisy as it would just be over crowded. Would take hours to get anywhere.

    Lets not look to build millions of homes.

    At some point buy to let won’t look that appealing and businesses and funds will start to enter the letting market in a bigger more efficient way.

    The number of new builds going up in Bedfordshire is scary, once isolated villages and country homes are swamped in a sea of new builds. Once rolling green hills are now new build clones. Towns in Herts and Bucks have so many new builds in tiny spaces where no allocation for parking is given nor outside space. It creates traffic jams, noise and stress.

    If it gets too expensive then it gets too expensive for immigrants, too bad. We cannot chase a net migration figure of 340,000 a year of mostly adults plus a higher birth rate from 1st generation migrants. We need to admit we can’t meet the demand unless we ruin the country.

  38. Monty
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    If we were to build more self-contained retirement communities, that could help to ease two problems at once. It would free up more family sized homes, and it would also help ease the elderly care crisis.

  39. JeremyG
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Houses prices are too high. That’s why so many young people have to rent or are staying at home. Reasons why prices are too high include:

    – BTLers pricing first time buyers out hoovering up large numbers of houses
    – foreign buyers able to out bid locals pushing prices up
    – schemes like “help to buy” that in reality help to sell houses at higher prices
    – availability of mortgages at high salary multiples such as 5x – in the past 3x or less was your limit
    – women who in the past would have stayed at home to bring up the children now having to work too so more money can be borrowed in turn pushing prices up
    – vacant houses – there are large numbers of properties that are empty acting simply as investment vehicles for their owners based on the assumption that prices only go up
    – high cost of land
    – planning restrictions
    – difficulties involved in building your own house particularly around getting planning permission
    – idea that we have no land to build on in the UK. In 2011 according to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2011692/A-green-pleasant-land-Map-reveals-half-Britain-countryside.html only 6% of Britain was built up
    – broadcasters like the BBC producing a constant stream of TV shows promoting property as an investment. It shouldn’t be. We need to get back to the idea that a house is a home to bring up a family.

  40. NickC
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    “We are short of many building trades for on site work.”

    PLEASE DON’T.

    Just like the establishment mantra that we are short of “skilled” people, technicians, engineers and scientists. It is horse-dung.

    Look at the ONS figures for people employed in manufacturing in the UK. For about 120 years, since 1841, it was up and down, around the 40% mark. Since 1961 to 2011 UK manufacturing employment fell dramatically from a bit under 40% to under 20%. These people did not disappear, most are still out there.

    SO WHERE HAVE ALL THE TRAINED PEOPLE GONE?

    That is the issue that needs answering. But here are two answers. So many people have been made redundant (repeatedly) over the years they got fed up and moved into other things or abroad. Another: I know a young man – apprentice trained as a domestic electrician – who gave it up because the housebuilders did not pay him for months and some domestic customers did not pay him at all.

    The establishment hasn’t just got Brexit wrong.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 15, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      NickC

      Sorry but you are totally wrong…. Ask any employer… ANY, how easy it is to get staff

      There are now 5.6 million businesses in the UK, there are 751,000 unfilled job vacancies. The size and type of market has changed dramatically in 1961 48% of people worked in the service sector now its 81.8% There were 24 million people in work in the UK in the 1970’s today there are 32 million. Manufacturing now comprises a lot of service based work ( IP, software, CNC programmes etc)

      One example of one person isn’t evidence of anything. Try googling electricians jobs I just did and found 5056 , the first few jobs were paying permanent salaries of between £28,000 ( in Eastern England) upto £40k in Midlands and south east. Daily rates from £80 per fay to £160

      I just googled manufacturing jobs and found 40,468 vacancies

      We have massive skills shortages in the UK and its going to get worse as we create more jobs. Vocational training rather than GCSE and University is the answer ( not importing short term overseas workers either to fill the gap)

  41. gyges01
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    In answer to “I would be interested to hear your ideas on what further measures the government should take in its White Paper and in the budget that follows. ”

    May I suggest Equity for Rent. That is, rather than housing benefit paying for rent it should pay for equity. At this point well settled equity law applies to the property. The next aspect would be to set up a mechanism whereby a forced sale, at auction, could be put upon the property. As part of this forced sale, if the price of the house returned through the auction is more than the 50% of the amount of equity in the house owned by the council; the party who initiated the sale should get the council’s share of the equity.

    For example, if over years the council has accrued £100K equity in a house. A third party comes along, fills in all the forms and forces a sale. The house sells for £180K. That means £100K for the council and £80K for the former owner of the property. But since the council is holding more than 50% of the equity it will suffer a penalty of £10K; hence the council can get back £90K from the sale and the party that initiated the sale would walk away with £10K.

    Note that the party initiating the sale may be the occupant.

    Note that even if the occupant does not initiate the sale, they can still bid for it.

    Note that the middle class benefit will be removed and save lots and lots of money.

    Note that there will be a wealth transfer from the middle classes to the poor.

    Note that the opposite is happening at the moment and if May’s inaugural Downing street speech is to mean anything ….

  42. anon
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Net new housebuilds must exceed demand (from immigration & domestic).
    Migrants should be able to pay there own way, without a need for subsidy.
    Employers should be charged capital fees, to directly fund building and associated society costs.

    Build higher but with high standards on space ,quality etc.

    Also you really need to sort out the leasehold rackets.

  43. John Hill & Co
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Capital Gains Tax needs to be reduced for buy-to-let landlords. My impression is that many would like to leave the business but resent having to pay a tax on inflation. A lower, flatter rate of CGT would bring more properties on to the market, increasing supply and reducing prices for owner-occupiers.

    • stred
      Posted January 14, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      100% correct. Many BTLs would be released and prices might fall. But the Treasury thinks it makes more from high prices and high tax.

  44. Ken Moore
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Chairman Redwood,

    I would welcome your views on the many ‘speculative’ development companies that are operating in the Uk. Becauseof the Conservative led initiative to relax planning law, speculative development proposals are springing up all over England riding roughshod over the views of local people. I’m sure you are aware of this sensitive issue in the Wokingham area.
    Dr Redwood, What is the point of having local democracy if it can be swept aside and bulldozed aside by faceless planning officials, often living miles away from the communities they are presiding over ?.

    The business model seems to be:-

    1.The speculative developer approaches a farmer or landowner and offers them an incredible price for their land often on a green field site just outside of the agreed planning area.
    2.Landowner accepts the ‘no win no fee’ type deal to gain planning permission for and market the land.
    3.The speculator sends the locals a document promoting the development pretending it is really in their best interests and is ‘sustainable’.
    4.The local council deny planning permission often reflecting fierce local opposition.
    5. The speculator appeals directly to the government planning inspector. The council is unable to defend itself against a well funded ‘predatory speculator’ and the appeal is upheld on the grounds that the council cannot demonstrate it has a 5 year supply of building land as is required by law. …
    Or any number of a range of other ‘loopholes’ now built into the planning system to permit much loved ancient green spaces surrounding towns and villages to be built on.

    I deeply regret your governments failure to control mass immigration despite the public never been asked. Now I am told that because of spiralling demand for housing I should accept more overcrowding on roads, less green spaces and more pollution etc. Why ?

  45. mike Wilson
    Posted January 15, 2017 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    the government itself has pledged to cut immigration to the tens of thousands

    not really sure how you can write that with a straight face. High immigration is DELIBERATE as it is the only way the government can get growth.

  46. Barbara
    Posted January 15, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    ‘Those who have been legally settled here’

    How can it be ‘legal’ to massively and instantly change the character of the country forever, without the consent of the majority of those who live here? How can it be ‘legal’ to build over our green belt, farms and countryside, which the majority of those affected strenuously object to? How can this be ‘legal’, when there is no majority consent, and no redress – unless today the word ‘legal’ , contrary to its usual meaning of ‘a codification of what is commonly accepted to be fair, traditional and customary’ is used to mean ‘imposed from above, against the wishes of those concerned’?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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