Levelling up and planning

The government wishes to see 300,000 house a year built, largely by the private sector. This would amount to an annual investment of say £50 billion in their construction.

We have held the debates before about migration and numbers. Today I wish to discuss the issues the government is consulting on. The consultation is not about migration and just assumes large house numbers.

The issue is where should such a large number of homes be placed? The government has recently issued a couple of Planning policy documents. I wrote about the main one here, eliciting little interest.

The second one is a series of proposals for immediate rather than longer term reform of our planning system. It sets out a new method for calculating housing need which in turn would inform housing targets for each Council in the country.

The base position seems sensible, suggesting a 0.5% increase in existing stock in each Council area each year. This would provide a reasonable number of new homes everywhere allowing some flexibility to home buyers. There is then an added “affordability” formula or algorithm to increase these numbers, as 0.5% leaves the country well short of the government’s own 300,000 target.

The adoption of this proposal produces a strange result.Instead of adding to the housing stock in the places where the government wishes to level up, their numbers are cut. Instead of reducing the flow of more investment and better paid people into the areas that are already well above average in prosperity and employment, they are scored to need many more. The estimates of the impact suggest Sussex would see a 127% increase and Surrey an 83% increase whilst the North East would have a fall of 28%.

I suggest the government thinks again lest this algorithm proves as troublesome as the exams one. We need a levelling up one, where more homes are built in those places which want the investment.

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  1. Adam
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Reducing the increasing population would solve most of the problem.

    • Andy
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      Much of the increasing population comes from people living longer. What will you do with the superfluous older people who you no longer want?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        What do you do with the ‘superfluous’ young people you don’t want? Send them back in dinghies?

        • Fred H
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          we had hoped they would emigrate, but….

      • Edward2
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        If you allow 350,000 new arrivals every year they become old too.

      • Adam
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Andy: Old people tend not to reproduce. The increasing growth is from mothers able to give birth at a future date.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      No, it wouldn’t.

      Many, probably most people live in housing with which they are discontented – too small, crowded, poorly located etc., so in principle the demand for space is infinite.

      Most of the extra land area occupied by housing since WWII has been because of the clearance of drastically overcrowded city housing, not population growth.

      And yet still only three percent of the land area is built upon.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        So why allow the Corporations in agreement with The State to build ‘Wendy houses’ – no room to ‘work from home’ or even put the car in the garage?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        oh so we knock them all down, build fewer but bigger, and then need even more new rabbit hutches?
        ‘How green was my valley’ – does that strike a chord, Martin?

      • Adam
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        Martin: Your denial seems obtuse, as is the notion of infinite demand. A reducing population generates space.

        3% is indeed already crowded. If you body occupied as much as 3% of your home, your discontentment would be denser.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      We can all see the logic of your statement, but unfortunately well beyond the ability of our political class to make the connection.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes, over 400 economic illegal migrants yesterday welcomed with open arms for us to keep. Well done Priti.

        • glen cullen
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

          Thought Priti was sending in the Royal Navy

          • Fred H
            Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

            Most of it being in dry dock, or having engines repaired, or waiting for crews to return from quarantine?

      • Hope
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        430,000 NI numbers issued to EU citizens last year according ONS. What size city would that equate to JR? Is your Blaire Tribute Act govt. going to build another urban village for them! Hardly the dwindling number the MSM press would have us believe. Where do these people live, get health care and education for children?

        How long will EU children keep receiving child benefit when they have not set a foot in this country?

        Remember how Farage was derided by socialist MPs dressed in red, orange and blue when he asked about numbers of Romanian and Bulgarians coming here. The actual number turned out far higher than even he thought!

        Start telling the truth about the route cause of the problem about immigration JR against your govt promises to cut the number. Not the estimate surveys at ports they like to use. Tell us actual numbers based on NI numbers issued to immigrants, illegal immigration, refugees and asylum seekers.

        • Hope
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          JR, suggest you read Alan Potts’ excellent article in Con Woman today as he sets out how Gordon Brown, helped by the two Eds- one of which your party helped to get elected last year- wrecked the economy in ten years while Johnson and Sunak has done far worse in six months!

          It is relevant today because we know the light touch on bank regulation followed by gargantuan investments in US housing investments brought our banking system to its knees. One Fred Goodwin courted by Brown, given the Queen treatment, and huge financial rewards did not suffer any consequences unlike the English taxpayer who suffered for years and years! What has your govt. actually done to change this in ten years?

          As Potts finishes saying if Johnson is not up to the job then quit and let somebody else have a go (sic). Quite.

          • Old Salt
            Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

            Not to mention the pensioners in receipt of just the basic state pension fortunate enough to have any savings now getting virtually zilch interest since the financial crash and now being made to pay, despite the promise of the free TV licence, if just over the allowance limit. Just another promise like the tens of thousands of immigrants turning out to be hundreds of thousands a year for a decade or more and that is just what we are told about.

            Is it any wonder it is said we need more houses. How long is it before the country is concreted over with increasingly less land for food production and therefore being reliant on others who may be in the same situation not to mention the decreasing availability of sufficient water.

            Savers in general are paying the cost already of such for over a decade now with no end in sight not to mention the talk of confiscation of capital by below zero rates.

            While immigrants are said to be given 4 star treatment with free TV etc.

    • Hope
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      JR, interesting how you conflate housing, planning and leveling up without a mention of immigration. Those up north are opposed to mass immigration, like the rest of the country.

      We read reports from the foreign press of no go immigrant areas in Sweden, France, Germany etc. not a jot here. Yet you and your socialist govt. carry full steam ahead without any thought to community cohesion, what the public has mandated you to do for ten years through three elections with broken promises and lies. Osborne claimed no one was serious in private about immigration laying bare the dishonesty of your party and govt. It is extraordinarily arrogant of you and your party not to address the concerns of the public but keep on with a policy in stark contrast to what you promised to get elected.

      Your govt every day fails its duty to keep us safe with unknown mass immigration. Did you learn nothing from previous terrorist incidents where U.K. Citizens were killed?

      I suggest your Blaire Tribute Act govt moves aside. It has resoundingly proved over a number of key policy issues not to be up to the job. It has proved this over ten years.

    • czerwonadupa
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Haven’t Sir John’s government already given out a 10 year £4 billion contract to put the illegal dinghy arrivees in hotels all across the north, midlands & now in the Home Secretary’s constituency in Essex ? Serco have been given apparently a £2 Billion 10 year contract, which from the evidence on YouTube, is to prevent investigating people from entering & asking why these hotels, during lockdown, are fully booked up way past the end of the year.
      Your government really take us for mugs Sir John

    • Oh Danny Boy
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      That won’t happen. God knows what this country will look like in twenty or thirty years from now. It’s truly terrifying.

  2. Stephen Priest
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    We will never level anyone up unless we end all the pointless restrictions.

    393 reported Covid deaths in Europe yesterday
    Population: 741.4 million
    SOURCE worldometers

    For that European economies are being destroyed.

    “Piers Corbyn, the elder brother of Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour party, was given a penalty without trial of £10,000 for his part in organising a rally in Trafalgar Square calling for the repeal of the Coronavirus Act, passed in March, which gave the government sweeping powers.

    The £10,000 penalty was imposed under a statutory instrument, not passed by parliament, but brought into force on 28 August by the Health Secretary. Two organisers of a rave in West Glamorgan, attended by about 3,000 people, were also given fixed penalty notices for £10,000.” Source – Spectator

    In other words the night before the protest

    What is going on with this Conservative Government?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Indeed about 230 people killed on European roads every day. Far more are killed by hospital negligence every day too.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Yes – what happened to the Human Right To A Fair Trial?

      That is the more worrying thing here, I think.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Oh we ditched that when we joined the Common Market (Basically adopting Roman Dutch law and ditches go ur ancient Settlement), and when we signed the European Extradition Act, we binned Habeas Corpus too.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          so there !!!

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps Corbyn will appeal and then get a fair trial as he is not treated equitably with other organisations meeting with over 30 people.

    • Stred
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      The Met seems to think that BLM protests where rioters chase the previously kneeling police and desecrate war memorials is a political meeting and therefore does not attract a huge fine. But a meeting calling for withdrawal of a political Act is not and the fine can be imposed immediately without any political oversight.

      The conclusion is that the Commissioners will decide what is political according to their own political views.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      This has only just started — France has introduced a totally opressive law that makes owners and directors of companies responsible for making sure everyone in their employment is forced to wear a mask – with horrendous penalties…

      How long before this gets imposed in the UK???

      • hefner
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Why not? CEOs are supposed to be leading, to be ultimately responsible of what is happening within their companies. For that, they are rewarded with salaries and other advantages usually at least an order of magnitude larger than the earnings of most of their employees.
        Or are you telling me that they should continue to get their remuneration package without in this particular time of crisis any additional responsibility?

        • Edward2
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          Try enforcing that when you are a CEO employing thousands of people on many different sites.
          Even the State with Police with arrest and fine penalty powers cannot enforce it.
          I would like to see you try hef.

        • Bryan Harris
          Posted September 5, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

          WHY NOT….!

          Can you not see the oppressive government intentions here?

          This is a very slippery slope to totalitarianism, where the state decides if you are worthy to live based on how well you do as you are told.

          • hefner
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            A bit paranoid, aren’t you?

          • Bryan Harris
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink


            Not at all— Open your eyes and see where this is all going….!

            Review the evidence on the internet — WAKE UP ….

          • hefner
            Posted September 6, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

            Thanks, please open my eyes: which sites should I consult?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      In a real Ebola/plague style contagion people don’t need to be told to lock down or fined £10,000 – the very real terror of liquified organs and visible hemorrhaging does that on the government’s behalf.

      People know what to do when their lives are exposed to a virus that WILL kill them. This includes crosses on front doors and plague pits.

      Note that the reports have gone from death rates to infection rates. Meaning that the chances of getting this disease badly are very slim indeed as the testing is showing us.

      This weak government is trying to run the country by consensus and unfortunately that consensus is dominated by a loud and shouty minority (some Lefty opportunists and others scaredy-cat hypochondriacs and helicopter mums) and we face economic, death-inducing catastrophe far greater than the disease itself.

      (I’m not included in that shouty group, Andy/MiC otherwise we’d be out of this by now.)

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Meanwhile BLM marchers get a police escort – -and those here celebrating Pakistani Independence day were driving along hanging out of car windows – so the police left the area. Racial discrimination anyone?

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        23 Aug 2020 – Hundreds rallied in central London to show their support for ongoing protests in Belarus,

        We had to jump off the pavement to get out of their way.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      But as far as I am aware BLM and EXR have got away with fines.

    • John Partington
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      More to the point: what would have happened it Labour and Mr Hindsight had been in charge. You are obviously a left leaning remainer.

    • UKQanon
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Tommy Robinson was arrested tried, convicted and gaoled within 5 hours for telling the TRUTH. Why is Julian Assange in a top security prison.The Establishment
      non- justice system rules.

    • Suzette Burtenshaw
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      And adding insult to injury, BLM organisers received a caution. Something doesn’t add up.

      • Timaction
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. The hypocrisy and double standards hasn’t gone unnoticed out here away from the bubble!

  3. Mark B
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    So the government want more homes. Why, does the government intend to live in them ? If not, then let the market decide. Stop interfering ! Stop setting quotas. Stop telling private business what and where they can invest their capital. Just make good on the promises that you have been making for the last 10 years and leave the rest to us.

    Who, if not government, is going to buy these homes ? Many are going to be well out of the price range of former Pret workers. You have just tanked the economy and you are carrying on like the band on the Titanic, totally oblivious to the rising water around you.

    I read somewhere that Alexander Johnson MP has less than 6 months. If true, and he does go, please do not mess about like last time with the TV nonsense. Just get on with it and elect a new party leader. Preferably someone with a background in the real world.

    • Ross Towes
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      I think ‘levelling up’ is more skilled sloganising – in this case covering the relatively easy letting of some contracts to the usual suspects to build more things that the man in Whitehall has decided everyone else needs.

      It’s surely more a question of the Government doing the hard work of radically changing the education system to include large-scale, rigorous skills training, radically simplifying the tax system and – for God’s sake – reducing energy bills by getting real about where energy comes from, particularly at the scale that many industries need it. Until these things are sorted out, investors will look askance. Yet no one on the Treasury bench seems to have a thought (let alone a good one) in his or her head about any of these things.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Your point is well made, I sometimes wonder, with concern, about the way some of Sir John’s posts appear; they have a definite socialist tinge, and he’s supposed to be on the right of the PCP!

      Here’s an idea, let the local authorities suggest how many and where to build, and make them qualify their applications with infrastructure capacity.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        (?) I cant detect any socialism. Kindness and generosity is part of Conservatism of course.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink


    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Well yes the government does de facto buy them by their schemes, low interest rates imposed pushing shared ownership schemes etc. This pushes 20 year old houses down the desirability list.

    • Hope
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Interesting how the Blaire Tribute Act govt. will set targets for housing but cancelled the target to cut immigration which is the center of the problem! Priti Pathetic, as she has become known, spouting a lot of hot air to appease the masses but taking no action, like her predecessors over ten years.

      We have a hotel crisis they are full of immigrants!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      The govt. is complying with EU directive.
      Even down to lowering stamp duty!
      Are we leaving?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      The govt need more houses – – because the govt know that they are going to allow millions more invaders in. They just won’t admit it.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      MarkB Yes, and not Gove as he has proved to be untrusworthy and is a green lunatic.

      Can we please have someone who at least knows how to play with an abacus.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Join the Party so you have a vote in the Leadership election. And we need to demand a say in the shortlist. MPs have proved they have no judgement, one failure after another in the Tory Leadership.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink


        You only get a vote once the MP’s have decided on who you want. Last time it was between Johnson and someone equally useless. The time before that, it was between Leadsom and somebody really useless. Why would I want to waste my money ? My new Tory MP, ousted an odious LibDem, has never worked in the Private Sector. Worked for the Local Council, NHS and as a SpAD.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          sounds to be over-qualified!

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          You will see that I cite the shortlist as the real problem. Of course we had to accept Remainer Boris, he was the best they would allow us. We need to put that right, pressure from the members only way.

    Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Leave this to the private sector. Council and State involvement will surely mean more disasters as a result of empty headed local and national politicians promoting policies that elevate political advantage above economic viability and material need

    Politicians and their kind have become a wretched, poisonous presence in our world.

    • SM
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      There is nothing new about the situation nor your perception of it, Dominic.

      “Every clique, every sect, almost every middle-class family, believed itself to be the Truth, and felt no doubt that if any one of its members were to have the management of public affairs but for a very short period, it could and would entirely regenerate the world, [for] at that time, all who held office in the State, the Church, in our county and municipal institutions and in the management of the army – in a word, the entire administration of the country – had long been under a load of depreciation amounting to the bitterness and weight of an anathema.”

      This describes the state of affairs in Britain in the 1830’s after the Great Reform Bill, as perceived by Thomas Mozley (1806-93), an author, clergyman and member of the Oxford Movement.

    • jerry
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      @Dominic; It has been left to the private sector for the last 40 years, the private sector has failed, that is why the UK (even without inward migration) faces a housing shortage. It is in the interests of the private sector to limit new build because, as with all things, a shortage of supply increases the value of the ‘commodity’.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        The planning departments in councils are the State and the (subsidised) Corporate house-builders are not really private industry.

        • jerry
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          So what are you suggesting Lynn, that there be no planning regs and laws, not sure the NIMBYs will like that one bit – back to the days of the post war Labour govt and their New Town announcements, your town or village is to be the next New Town, like it or lump it…

          The fact remains though, even when private builders have full planning consent it can take years for them to start or complete new-build schemes.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          There are about a million homes which have planning permission but which not have yet been built. At the current rates of building, that is over 4 years supply.

          It’s not in the interests of the house builders to build more quickly. They should be encouraged to do so by, for example, being charged LVT.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

            You need stock in every business.

            You only have a certain amount of assets and resources in every business.
            Plant equipment staff and so on.

            These need to be effectively employed.
            You finish one project and you move onto the next.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            Builders will not build if by doing so they show a loss. There is a surfeit of housing, most of it rubbish (including most new builds). Very few desirable houses. That’s the problem.

          • jerry
            Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

            @Lynn Atkinson; “Builders will not build if by doing so they show a loss. “

            That’s the point, and why new-build can not be left to the private sector, new homes are needed now, not just when it is profitable.

            “Very few desirable houses.”

            Stop being so pompous! What is less desirable than a damp bedsit or “temporary accommodation” hotel room, perhaps even a mates sofa?!

          • Edward2
            Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            Why don’t you go ahead and build houses at a loss Jerry?
            You seem very keen.
            Might give you something to do instead of posting contrary posts🤔

          • jerry
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Oh do stop replying to things I have not said, or even implied…

            I completely understand why private builders can not build what they can not sell, that is why I’ve suggested the govt gets these private builder companies and contractors to build new LA housing stocks, it will give work to the construction sector, this in turn will boost the wider economy, and so on.

            What is more, because many more people, now paying affordable not-for-profit rents, will have greater levels of disposable income that allow them to either save for a mortgage deposit or spend more on consumer goods, perhaps even both, thus fuelling a recovery in the wider economy.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            That is not what I said.
            You want private companies to build homes and make a loss.
            Why don’t you set up in business doing that?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink


    • a-tracy
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      How can they leave it to the private sector Dominic they want the homes for people who arrive here with nothing. Who then go on to complain they don’t get enough.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      +1 let demand drive the housing build. (Although as a nimby I’m delighted that the North East will be relieved of 28% – they will be the migrants dumped on us to our dismay and to the detriment of the crime figures!

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Indeed. Meanwhile Sunak tell MP they much be honest with the public about taxes well that would be a first.

    It seems Sunak intends to increase stamp duty hugely on 31 March by up to £15K per property. Also to increase taxes yet further – CGT rates up to 40% , income tax on pension contributions (directly against the promise not to increase income tax), corporation tax to 24% and perhaps dividend tax too (yet another income tax increase in effect).

    He seems bizarrely to think this will distinguish the party from Labour by showing they are the party of “economic competence”! Well hardly – increasing taxes and destroying the economy is what Labour do every time. The books need to be balanced by halving the size of the largely parasitic state sector – much of which is currently doing almost nothing (or even positive harm) and with most on full pay & sitting at home. Not by killing the recovery with extra taxation.

    Sunak needs to have a bonfire of red tape, cut and simplify taxes, go for cheap reliable energy and cut all the green lunacy and HS2. That would be economic competence for a change. From the current (hugely over taxed and regulated position) raising tax rates will not raise more revenue and will kill the tax base and economic growth you silly PPE plonker.

    But since ERM John Major onwards the party has not been remotely economically competent. They have been a party of tax borrow and piss down the drain just like Labour in essence. A party and Chancellor who has not even cancelled HS2 yet clearly has not got a clue about economic competence.

    • Nigl
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      Another repetitive obsessive zero contribution to today’s topic.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        If you want to level up you need less government, lower taxes and fewer parasitic jobs. Much of the divide is between over protected state sector workers with gold plated pensions and job security (often producing little of any value or even negaitve value) and the private sector who rarely have this but have to carry the burden of it all.

        Surely you can see the relevance?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Osborne promised us a £1 million each IHT threshold many years back and the he, Hammond and Sunak have not even delivered. Talk from Sunak being honest with the public until this is delivered is rather nauseating.

      Let’s be honest then Sunak. The UK is already hugely overtaxed, raising tax rates further with give less revenue not more in the end and it will kill or export jobs and maim the economIc recovery. Most of the money raised by the UK government is spent very inefficiently indeed, wasted completely or spend doing positive harm. Is that honest enough for Sunak?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Honest enough for me.

      • Hope
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        Reported today highest sustained taxation since the 1940s! Unbelievable. Cameron’s own book stated Fake Tories should have made far more cuts. In reality £10 billion difference between Darlings’ plan and Osborne who copied him! Read Goodwin on Con Home today. Their ten year economic record is depressing to say the least. Half wit Mitchell squawking about overseas aide to be maintained, utter out of touch idiot. The same one who looked down his nose on the cops in office and ended up making a settlement for his out of touch behaviour!

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Half price meals were never sold as what they were. Buy Now Pay Later meals.

      Instead Mr Sunak postured as the Great Giver and was lauded as such by swooning bints in the tabloids who should be old enough to know better.

      I voted Tory to avoid Corbyn but got Marx.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        100m ‘meals’ claims. @ an average of say £7 = £700m given out by Rishi.
        Burgers, or coffee and cake anybody?

    • Arthur Wrightiss
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Absolutely spot on.

    • percy openshaw
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Bravo. Your comment sums up what is wrong with our nominally Conservative party and sets the agenda for a real one. We must never forget that Tory support slumped to 9 % in the last euro-elections. In response, the party ditched Mrs May and brought in Johnson, who allegedly represented the approach you describe. As a result, Conservative polling recovered. The Tebbit thesis – that there’s big support out there for a fearlessly right wing political force – was vindicated. Unfortunately, Johnson has proved no more than another Mrs May and the Conservative party is using up the last shreds of its voters’ patience. Now it’s simple: Boris goes or we turn en masse to Farage.

      • Hope
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Do not forget Johnson just rewarded those in his party with a title and extra pension for betraying his party, manifesto, and public mandate that was the largest in history!

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      L/L All this green stuff is tosh. We have bought a house that already had solar panels on the roof. We would never have bought them ourselves. They are only 5 years old and the inverter has packed in. We phoned the people that installed the panels and they told us it would be £325 for a call out. What?!!!!! It’s a total rip off. With the price of a new inverter we would be looking at near £1k. How many families are aware of these costs? I thought BT’s charges for call outs were bad enough but this!? This industry needs reigning in and controlling. They are ripping people off and getting away with it. Needless to say we will use an independent person and will not use this company.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Yep. Solar panels are not financially viable in the UK. That’s why they are subsidised else nobody would have them.

        • turboterrier
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          Lyn Atkinson

          But the politicians have learnt or understand three fifths of naff all about renewable energy and just keep signing them off and why not it’s our money.

          • glen cullen
            Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

            too true

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      “income tax on pension contributions”. OK but how is this equitable with public sector pension workers and those that still have access to those schemes guaranteed by future taxpayers. This has got to be level or it is grossly unfair. Isn’t it time that all public sector pensions have to be in market schemes the same as the rest of the UK population and certainly MPs who make these decisions.

      I don’t mind anyone in the public sector having their 25% employer contribution to their pension but it is never mentioned, the amount isn’t calculated properly, their pension pots are never discussed, they are not fallable to the market, the local council just top up with ratepayers money and those of us without those protections and thus need other higher savings elsewhere that are also under attack have to take the hit in every which way.

      • Iago
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        And civil service pension lump sums are not taxable. (This should remain the case for the armed forces.)

        • Fred H
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          until you spend it!

    • agricola
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      What Rishi Sunak’s ideas might be to get the UK economy functioning again I can only speculate. Given the restrictions imposed on our economy by Covid19 I think he did a good job in holding it together while we sweated out the disease.

      The real question is how can a chancellor with original thinking on tax, if that is the case, carry the day when confronted with the traditional thinking in the Treasury.

      We have the aftermath of Covid19, the historic spiders web of excessive tax legislation, and the need post Brexit to embark on a business revival. Has anyone in the treasury , government, or the conservative party actually embarked on a root and branch simplification of the tax regime we currently suffer. Who is the Moses about to descend the bureaucratic mountain with a new simplified tax system. It is indeed going to be a bold chancellor who steers the ship post Covid19 and Brexit. He will need a lot of support on the floor of the Commons, are they up to the challenge. To put it simply, this is a post Dunkirk situation that demands a lot of original thinking to carry the day. This government has just about the same time frame as did Winston to win through.

  6. agricola
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Houses are a commodity, they are subject to supply and demand. There is no point in building them where demand is low.

    If it is desirable that affluent house buyers, and you need to be affluent to buy a house, move to the less wealthy parts of the country then you must provide them with good reason for doing so. This normally means well paid employment.

    The easiest tool government has is ministerial employment. Move ministeries and you create employment in low employment ares. The next tool is taxation. The creation of tax free zones around ports and airports would encoutage business activity in them, employment, and a need for housing.

    Government needs to move with caution. The work pattern changes caused by Covid19 need to settle into a workable norm. The office work/ home work needs to stabilise. The need for prestige offices of current size could reduce effectively changing their use. They might provide an answer to the essential worker housing shortage adjacent where they work in city centre hospitals, fire and police stations. When the rhetoric dies down and a clear plan of action emerges from government we might know where housing is needed and where it is not.

    You seem to dismiss immigration as a factor, but until you get rid of a reported 9400 criminals , plus those still in jail, awaiting deportation, and the estimated 2,000,000 illegals, all of whom need accommodation, you cannot judge future housing needs.

  7. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Turn the boats back. We have enough houses just too many people.
    How many XR have been find £10,000.
    Thought not.

  8. Oldwulf
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    The 300,000 pa extra houses should be built along the HS2 route, so that the extra passengers might make it viable.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      but then you would have to have stations… Bang goes that speed advantage.

  9. Andy
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    We now have hundreds of big shiny office blocks which will be sitting empty in future.

    Get planning rules changed quickly to allow easy conversion into housing.

    Axe the silly rules which prevent shops being converted into homes easily.

    Scrap the Green Belt and start again looking at which countryside we need.

    None of this stuff is hard but no government ever seems to do it.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      You are a joke, half of the best Blocks of flats in London are conversions – office Blocks (every heard of St John’s Sq?) There is an area called ‘docklands’ and Battersea Power Station? Get the drift?

  10. Dave Andrews
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    No more development, more English meadow please, and woodland. Turn off immigration, maintain good education and the UK population will gradually decline.

  11. Andy
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    I almost feel sorry for Conservative MPs.

    A year ago they were so full of joy and now, every Wednesday at 12pm, the lazy blonde oaf is guaranteed to humiliate them.

    His performance at PMQs yesterday was the most embarrassing I have ever seen from a prime minister.

    In my entire life the only PM I have ever had that I actually voted for was Tony Blair. But although I didn’t vote for Thatcher or Major or Brown or Cameron or May, I could admire their work ethic and their mastery of detail.

    I’m afraid the bumbling fool we have now shames his office. He is genuinely useless – as he was as foreign secretary. There are rumours he will leave next year. If Tory MPs have any sense – which is doubtful – they’ll remove him before Christmas as he humiliates not just himself and his country but his party too. At least future prime minster Sunak is competent.

  12. Julian Flood
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    A previous Housing Minister – I forget which, they come and go – has decreed that Norfolk and Suffolk has to allocate land for 250,000 dwellings by 2030 which means an increase equal to the current population of Suffolk.
    We can’t go on like this.


    • Original Chris
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      The govt apparently has no serious intention of doing anything effective about immigration, in particular illegal immigration, as it picks up the immigrants, has a fleet of buses ready for them plus hotel accommodation, translation services, benefits, free housing and medical care, and so on. Great “pull factors”. With these incentives numbers are going to rise relentlessy.

      Our government has not been honest with the electorate about the implications of May signing us up to the UN Compact on Migration. Instead it says it is in earnest (about reducing numbers and taking real action on border security, and having a points based system for immigration) but does NOTHING.

      The crux of the matter is that Boris is a globalist, along with many of his Tory MPs, and the globalists subscrine to the one world government model which requires open borders and free movement of labour, plus an acceptance of edicts from the global government entities such as the UN, WHO, WTO. That is where we are at the moment and unless Boris ditches the failed globalist model we will not be able to take advantage of leaving the EU and forging a new future as a powerful and FREE independent nation.

  13. BJC
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I appreciate we’ve been warned off, but it’s a tad difficult to engage in the idea of concreting over our green and pleasant land to accommodate unlawful and uncontrolled immigration. Is this not the route cause of your problem? Is it not true that they’ll then have generations of families who will also require housing? The reality is it’s a self-inflicted government problem and one that is impossible to plan for until those in authority control who comes here and rids us of those who shouldn’t be here. Another 409 arrived yesterday……

  14. Nigl
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    So please tell me what is sensible about a base percentage that does not produce anywhere near the number needed? Why not increase it?

    Please also tell me why any builder is going to invest in areas where there is little/no demand maybe reduced margins when the Home Counties are ‘easy’

    The Government knows this so the algorithm, as if by magic reflects that relying on ‘stupid’ voters to accept it is the algorithms fault because it has a mind of it’s own. Nick Gibb has already used that defence

    If you want to level up. You have to get the business there first pulling people towards it thus creating the demand.

    The government hasn’t a clue how to do that or the timescale is too long so it creates this algorithm because the number is more important than where they are.

    This in turn, does the opposite of what it is supposed to do, creating a wider gap levelling down with the poorer areas caught in a vicious circle.

    It’s boleaux. If this is Jenricks domain I am not surprised. From the Hancock, Williamson, Shapps, naive, little experience out of their depth club.

    • miami.mode
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      No matter what somebody’s job is, my criteria for judging them is “does this person do their job well enough to keep me in employment if my job depended on their capability to do theirs”.

      I would have serious doubts about the four you have mentioned.

  15. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Just a quick diversion .. Matt Hancock was asked this morning why do some people need to travel hundreds of miles to get a covid swab test . He waffled and talked about the future and just dropped in the conversation that home testing kits are available and then with alacrity moved on and went on to waffle. Why on earth if home testing kits are widely available didn’t he push’ Home Testing’ and answer the actual question?

    • Fred H
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      post test kit out, test, post swab back. Result next day? I think not.
      Current First class delivery say 3 days, no delivery Sat and Sun, same returning result.
      Dozens infected by then. Brilliant.

      • Margaret
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        No why post back? What is wrong with e mail results?

        • Margaret
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          No why post back? What is wrong with e mail results? And special collection for speed to lab. I can do it with blood sampling etc every day.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          the day NHS or my GP sends an email will be the day they move out of the 1980s. They can’t even ensure they send only 1 letter or appointment from India to us. Duplicate every time, sometimes received AFTER the appointment date.

  16. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    If an arbitrary figure of 300,000 new homes is decided upon without considering why they are needed (immigration) how will we know what type of dwellings should be built?

    Do we need entry level starter homes for those moving to cities in search of work? Do we need more rural based larger homes for those now “more productive” working at home? Do we need flats for youngsters or family homes or better still dormitories for “refugees” (400 per day adds up). Should we be building quality retirement homes so the elderly can downsize and free up stock for those who would like to trade up?

    Again without considering immigration, 300,000 new homes may increase supply to the extent that it outstrips demand (it won’t because of immigration). Is your government prepared for negative equity?

    As much as politicos and the ostentatiously accommodating would like to pretend that immigration is not a large contributor to our housing shortage and cost increases, housing numbers can not be planned for without factoring in the massive numbers of largely non-contributing people your government allows into this country daily.

  17. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    It is not feasible to keep on insisting that councils grow their housing stock — they’ve been doing this for years which has resulted in overcrowding, congested roads and a lack of facilities.
    England, particularly the south east is full, while Wales and Scotland remain sparsely populated – The north of England also has plenty of open spaces … doesn’t that suggest an option?

    It’s often repeated that people want to live where the jobs are…. but this is not true any more – Many of those on benefits could live anywhere —- and indeed, with lockdowns and a new way of working, people do not need to be close to work…!

    Climate change, windmills and making use of the sun’s energy features widely in government policies — so why not encourage new towns built to harness nature in new areas????
    Instead of the usual lazy approach of making life unbearable where we do not need more homes?

    I’m sure that there are many people who do not have to live in a specific area would be happy to move to a brand new, less compact area, and would happily swap homes for people that need to be in a given area, given the right incentives.

  18. jerry
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    “The government wishes to see 300,000 house a year built, largely by the private sector. This would amount to an annual investment of say £50 billion in their construction. “

    Great, but not a lot of help to the private individual who is out of work or can not secure a mortgage, when will this Govt. act like a Tory govt, allow LAs (re)new their council housing stocks, just as the real Tory govt of the 1950s…

    True, the private & BTL landlords could buy these new-build houses but then what, the govt will likely end up having to dole-out housing benefits, unless of course this Tory govt acts like a real Tory govt would, by regulating rents via a plentiful supply of not-for-profit LA housing, like they did in the 1950s…

    “The issue is where should such a large number of homes be placed? “

    Where they are needed, ideally close to were work is! No point building new houses north of Newcastle or south-west of Exeter when the work is in London and the south-east or the Midlands.

    Housing policy doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

  19. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Oh for goodness sake!

    Why this obsession with new houses? I refuse to engage in a discussion on something which isn’t necessary.

    If as much effort was put into the supply side i.e. cutting numbers of occupants and their capability to occupy, particularly in the south east, we might be getting somewhere.

    As a backstop we have legion shops and offices which are capable of being converted to residential if it is actually needed, which it wouldn’t be if we weren’t expanding the population enormously and feasting it on benefits.

  20. dixie
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    There is a story about some architect hired to design some campus buildings, he laid out the buildings but didn’t specify any paths.

    He came back a year after the campus had been built and looked for the tracks where people had walked and had the paths laid there.

    You don’t want an algorithm which spreads out supply evenly and tidily, you need a means to determine where legitimate need and demand is then address that.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      A very sensible approach. Not top down central planning/socialism but freedom and choice. Working with the public and not against them.

      Currently we have idiotic central planning socialism trying to plan housing, ram electric cars down people’s thoats. Plus the BBC trying to push woke lunacy and climate alarmist down listeners throats too (using viewers and listeners own money to do it too).

  21. BeebTax
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I don’t see much analysis of the problem(s) we are trying to solve.

    There’s a big private rented sector (which most people would like to leave in order to buy their own place and make a capital gain over time, as well as having the security and satisfaction that home ownership provides). There’s a small cheap public rented sector, which is difficult to enter. There’s the issue of wealthy people buying second homes in places where incomes are low so locals can’t compete. There’s the basic link between employment opportunities and the the need for local housing (though “homeworking” is eroding that).

    Let’s figure out what the problems are and where we want to get to. What mix of tenures? How much affordable housing? What is “affordable”? Do we want to redistribute capital via housing? etc etc

    If the answer is that we need 127% more housing in Sussex then OK (I live there). But I’m not yet convinced.

  22. Pat
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Very simply the homes need to be in the areas where people want to live. That should be easy to determine by looking at prices. If a given type of housing is more expensive in one area than another then that area needs more of that type of housing.
    You will note that the desire for profit would drive developers to do this without any planning.
    Simply abolish planning (but not building regs) and the problem will solve itself.

  23. graham1946
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    ‘We have held the debates before about migration and numbers’

    Is that it then – put that one to bed, nothing done?

    ‘0.5 percent additional houses every year, everywhere’.

    What about places like my area where there have already been 20 percent increases, prime agricultural land concreted over and no more infrastructure, no more schools, doctors lists closed, hospitals amalgamated and a 45 minute drive away if you have an accident and either nowhere to park if you have to attend or £8 charge if you find a space. This needs much more joined up thinking than just a bald statement that we nee 300,00 more houses each year ad infinitum. No we don’t, we need population control, and the government doesn’t even attempt it with immigration being under their direct control. Joined up thinking is never going to be achieved with a Cabinet the size of the one we saw pictures of yesterday, each minister paddling his own canoe and the PM seemingly missing in action.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      So Tory Ministers paddling the illegal migrants boats now? What a useless bunch!

  24. MikeP
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The housing developments will generate need for road improvements, extra utilities and investment in amenities. Let’s not do this all by algorithm – that smacks of a Civil Servant with an Excel spreadsheet – let’s concentrate building up those areas of the UK that have been relatively starved of new major infrastructure, new housing, new residents for years. Frankly that isn’t the South-East.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Housing developments will generate the need for road improvements etc. True, but they don’t get them. Promises are made in the planning but nothing happens. In my area thousands of houses are/have been built and not one new road etc as I said above. The people just pour onto old country lanes (now so-called A or B roads) which were built for horse and cart) . We are headed for disaster, just so some big builders can make a fast buck and give their CEO’s 70 million quid as a year end bonus.

  25. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    The government wishes to see 300,000 house a year built,


    reply I have often urged lower numbers of migrants and homes

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      But why do they take no notice?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Surely you can’t be the only Tory MP with constituents who don’t want 300,000 more people here each year and 300,000 new houses each year (one for each immigrant?!). Can’t you band together and tell iris and Pretty Useless that it stops NOW!

    • Fred H
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply…. nobody is listening. Suggest you join a new party with plain-speakers like Farage. You’d be the next PM in no time.

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        I’d vote for that party

  26. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    The idea that Surrey apparently needs more housing and the North East needs less smacks of stupidity and incompetence. Who would have expected that from this government? Bring back May eh?

  27. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I do think, Mr. Redwood, that it is time you stopped dodging the question and responded. Why does your party in government allow a net increase in our population of THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND people a year?

    • Iago
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      “the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine” any “sense of our homogeneity and difference from others”. Peter Sutherland speaking to the House of Lords Home Affairs Committee in 2012. The EU commissioners, so far as I know, have not explicitly stated that this is their policy and that huge immigration from outside Europe is the way to achieve this, but explicit or not this seems to be the policy our government is following and the idea of our country is not something that they care for.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      They are told so to do by the globalists?
      Certainly they appear to be answering to a higher authority.
      Are they “owned” by the UK ‘s enormous debt and they have to do as they are told?
      Yet they are hell bent on getting us further into debt!!

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      I might just have your answer

      They just don’t care about the voters

  28. Chris Dark
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Three hundred thousand a year, three million in ten years, rinse and repeat…where does it end? Countless acres of land going under concrete, where do we grow food? Does no-one ever think of the physical size of this country and what it can cope with? Population forever growing, mainly with the help of immigration; demanding ever more food, electricity, water. Rural areas, havens of peace and quiet, rapidly turning into towns, more and more people crammed together in the developers’ modern concept of the rabbit hutch. I hear that large councils buy up newly-built homes to dump their immigration overloads into them. No wonder third-worlders flock here; free money, free houses and all supplied by the stupid British.
    I have relatives in Sweden who comment every time they come to England about how crowded and squashed the country is. They absolutely have no overcrowding problems where they live, with just over ten million in the entire country.

    • beresford
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Apparently the world leaders have decided that the population of this country should be 190 million and the growth should be provided by mass migration. However like Mickey Mouse in the ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ they have no plans on how to stop the procession of marching brooms and buckets they have set in motion once the ‘target’ is achieved.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      We’ve had 7 million immigrants under this Government and 7 million more from Labour. If that doesn’t shock you nothing will.

  29. Nigl
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    And off topic but current. If anyone wants a benchmark as to how this government is doing, in one of the most important drivers of a successful industrial strategy, we are now 49th in the world, down 14 places and almost the slowest in Europe with our internet infrastructure.

    Incompetent and truly shocking still showing the dead hand effect of a once state monopoly, BT now in a serious pickle through poor leadership, years of massive under investment and now Covid.

    I guess the Ministers responsible over the years would have had little knowledge/experience and like so much else, we see the result.

  30. glen cullen
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The government should be in the supported flat/hostel business to help people in need

    The government should not be in the house building sector leave that to market forces and investors

  31. Nivek
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    “The government has recently issued a couple of Planning policy documents. I wrote about the main one here, eliciting little interest…. I suggest the government thinks again lest this algorithm proves…troublesome”

    Perhaps the reason you are eliciting little interest in this subject is because, when people ask why Piers Corbyn appeared to be singled out among organisers of recent protests in being issued with a £10,000 police fine, it seems to elicit no interest from leading politicians. I would be interested if you could discuss the algorithm that the police used to reach that decision.

  32. Andy
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    We left the EU last January. Mainly, of course, because you were all concerned about immigration – though many of you like to pretend it was about trade or ‘sovereignty’. (It wasn’t).

    So the migration figures must make joyous reading for you. Fewer Europeans are coming. But we are getting more Indians and Chinese. Just what you all wanted.

    Best of all is the boat people. This has always been always been a negligible problem but, since leaving the EU, it has dramatically worsened. 400 asylum seekers arrive yesterday and – despite having left the EU – the government has done nothing about it. Indeed we now learn that Brexit makes deporting such people even harder.

    How do you all feel now knowing that you were misled about this stuff? You were told it would be easier – it is harder. You must be angry with the people who lied to you.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes I am.

      And I don’t believe what the Tory Party says nor anyone in it.

      I regret voting for them intensely.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        I wonder what the swing away from the disaster that is Boris is growing to?
        HS2 confirmed new employment stated to be 22,000 – – shame about the additional 3,000,000 unemployed taking place before Christmas.
        No celebrations, festivities, presents this year.
        Scrooge will be here to stay for years.
        Well done Boris – enjoy Christmas in Chequers.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      Wrong 1
      We leave Jan 1st 2021
      Wrong 2
      Immigration was just one factor out of many.
      People who apply to come here and are successful are very welcome.
      Your attempt to make it a racism issue is pathetic and it fails every time you try to play it.

      • agricola
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        I have crossed the Channel many times in on average 10 metre yachts. I know the problems having passed exams to learn to counter them. Though I do not approve of those who do it in yacht tenders, I cannot help but admire the sheer guts of those that do. It says a lot for the enormous attraction of possible life in the UK as an alternative to all the safe EU countries they have passed through. What do they see in the UK that our trolls have such disdain for.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          I completely agree having sailed across to France many times myself.

  33. Annette
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    You have to admit that this Govt’s apparent policy of Govt by algorithm, with reality & common sense seemingly ignored, is not working too well as seen from the ‘pandemic’ response, exam results for non-existent exams & now planning. It certainly does not help that a Cabinet nudge unit is utilised to advance Govt by AI.

    I have no idea whether this is covered by the ‘algorithm’ but if it’s not built in, then it demonstrates the intention of an alternative plan…
    We are due to take back full & sovereign control of our waters on 1st January. This ‘should’ mean the regrowth, mainly organic (might need a kickstart investment), of our fishing communities & industry. These are obvious areas whereby jobs, both directly & indirectly connected to the community will grow & obvious areas for new housing & infrastructure.

    Is that in the pipeline? Will the Govt actually deliver? We will see.

  34. Anonymous
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    No mention of the infrastructure to go with the 300,000 homes a year.

    This isn’t about making the British people happy is it.

    These are Tractor Stats to go with the BBC’s morning 2 Minutes of Hate*, aren’t they !


  35. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    People will choose where they want to live John, not the Government.

    People move for many reasons, to get a larger smaller property, for work reasons, to be near to family, partnership break up, divorce, to get away from the rat race, for help with assisted living, etc etc.

    If houses are to be built by the private sector they will want to build where there is demand and thus profit.

    A local Authorities job is to make sure an area is not overloaded, that the infrastructure can cope, that houses and roads are fit for purpose, in short it is to manage its area of control.
    In some cases that may mean enough is enough.

    I see another 27 boats crossed the Channel yesterday, I wonder where the government are going to put those 409 people, given so few are being sent back certainly none of them will be paying rent anytime soon.

    Do we have any records of how many are carrying Covid, or who are suspected undesirables with a criminal record, how many are so called genuine refugees, and if so why did they not apply through the correct channels instead of just crossing it illegally

  36. Jeff12
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    The latest Five year Plan by the same bureaucracy that has utterly failed to predict virus deaths and the lockdown catastrophe. In fact it is another socialist central planning fiasco in the making. I wonder what it is about late stage civilisations that sends them mad with delusions such as believing they can predict demand years in advance when in fact preicting clearly obvious consequences of their own actions seems to be beyond them. We are heading for an inevitable collision with reality and our ruling elite will not even notice it coming.

  37. Anonymous
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    We can’t go without mentioning immigration.

    There is about to be a massive change in policy. Mark Rashford changed Tory policy on free school meals – Gary Lineker is about to change/expose Tory policy on Channel crossings, having taken refugees into one of his homes*.

    Tories are in thrall to footballers (but only left wing ones.)

    * Until Mr Lineker takes in so many refugees that it impacts his own access to services and his own standard of living he is not getting the working class experience. This is gesture politics using BBC licence payer money, which he gets in spades.

  38. Everhopeful
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Problem. Reaction. Solution.
    How can we discuss this “problem” with no reference to how it was and is being caused?
    Why should we have any interest in a solution to government’s self- inflicted “crisis” which will only upset our lives even more!
    Sort out the cause and you have the solution.
    But that isn’t what any politician wants…is it?

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Agree – What problem
      Thousands of houses for sale in estate agents
      Thousands of empty council properties
      Almost zero actually living without somewhere to sleep apart from those that choose to live that way or newly arrived illegal immogrants

  39. Lifelogic
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Your figures suggest (building costs only) of £166K per “house”. Small houses and flats can easily be built for rather less than this. It could further be lowered by scrapping the OTT green crap building regulations, moving to easier hire and fire, culling the climate change and net zero carbon lunacy, taxing workers less, stopping the over charging for utility connections, stopping attacking the self employed, getting rid to the Community Infrastructure Levy (tax).

    While they are at it lower stamp duty, land registry fees, building control fees and the many other back door taxations on building. The 12% insurance IPT tax for example introduce by Ken Clark and increased by Hammond by another further 20% recently. Rental properties could be cheaper to if the government stopped interferring with landlord licencing, taxing non real “profits”, cutting the extra 3% stamp duty (anti-tenant/landlord tax) etc.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink


    • graham1946
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Even at £166k, I guarantee the builders will sell them for upards of £250k. id not double that. The profit margin is no longer used in this business. it is just pure greed.

  40. agricola
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Sky News in the guise of Kay Burley trying to suggest that the views of Tony Abbot ex PM of Australia disqualify him from discussing trade with the UK due to his supposed views on women and homosexuals. Views if real that have nothing to do with trade. What is wrong with anyone having views on any subject. Kay Burley Big Sister implying how we should think. PC gone mad.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Tony Abbott is an excellent choice. He is even sound on climate alarmism with is almost unknown in government. This despite his having obtained degrees in Law, Economics and PPE Oxon.

      He has done well indeed to survive and still have sound views despite this “education”.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 12:15 am | Permalink

        Whilst I don’t share your green crap views, I am beginning to think that being a ‘climate change denier’ is going to be made illegal soon.

        • agricola
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Nobody in their right mind denies climate change, it has been happening for billions of years. What I and many others object is its adoption as a new religion to further a truckload of unnecessary impositions on our lives and at great expence.

          If CC affects our lives take steps to minimise them, but cease crippling the economy. Build coastal defences as necessary, but not expensive power sources and vehicles not fit for purpose.

          If the zealots wish to do something useful, put their energy behind cleaning up the environment which is in an appalling state.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

            Well said agricola.

  41. Everhopeful
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Good luck to any Tory MP in soon-to-be-concreted-over leafy idylls.
    Watch the support drain away as constituents see their lives ripped into even more tatters.
    Still I very much doubt that “democracy” is the future.
    Look how easily the local elections were swept aside!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      They’ll still vote Tory when the whole of Wokingham is built on. Massive developments at the junction of the London Road and A329M, the big Barratt’s development, houses between the town and the M4. You nearly have it completely built on Mr. Redwood- time to get those pesky fields between Heathlands and the railway built on.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


        The A329M is the new Northern boundary for the Town at present, how long before that is breached.

        We have now in the last few years have Wokingham joined up to the East with Bracknell along the A329, which is presently being joined up with Ascot.

        We are already joined up to the West along the A329 with Winnersh and now Lower Earley and Earley which is already joined up with Reading.

        To the South we still have some developments applying for planning along the A321 awards Finchampstead and Barkham, with a massive development in process ar Arbourfield.

        Time to call a halt methinks !

        • Fred H
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          next they’ll agree to more flats and 3 storey house buildings.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 12:12 am | Permalink

          Time to call a halt?! What does your local MP have to say about it? If he really wanted to represent the people of his constituency he’d lay down in front of the bulldozers and be on the front pages of the papers asking why the government insists the quaint old market town of Wokingham has to become an urban jungle.

          Mind you, 300,000 new people every year need a lot of houses. Shame Wokingham has been destroyed as a nice place to live to accommodate them.

          Reply I am opposing fast growth in house building locally

          • Fred H
            Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

            fast or slow – it is still housing that reduces the green and pleasant land into a concrete, tarmac’d, rabbit warren of tedious housing causing traffic jams, bypasses, health care failings, education problems, do you deny it?

          • hefner
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            On the wokingham.gov.uk site ‘Overview of major developments’ 11 areas are marked as areas of future developments before 2024 and five (Arborfield Garrison, Gorse Ride Estate, Shinfield Parish, North Wokingham, South Wokingham) are being developed now. And that’s just for the Wokingham District, which is only the eastern part of Sir John’s Wokingham constituency. However it is likely that the more affluent western part of the constituency might not feel so much pressure …

            Reply The western and eastern parts of my constituency have similar levels of income, employment and prosperity.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Oh ok.
        I thought the “I’m alright Jacks“ were particularly sensitive to their own little enclaves being disrupted.
        That was why May had the gall to go out and protest proposed building in Sonning.
        She was most pleased when her campaign succeeded!

  42. William Long
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I should have thought that the Government would have learned its lesson about the use of Algorithms by now, but from what you say it seems not.
    It would be useful to know how the ‘Affordability’ component is constructed, but if it is based on statistics from the past it will inevitably extend the status quo, rather than support what the Government hopes will happen in the future. Surely the error cannot be as basic as this, but I bet it is.

  43. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Funny that John but I was just thinking the same thing about Sussex before I came to your comments. The amount of building going on all over Sussex at the moment is horrendous. I used to live there and it has changed so much with houses in places you would never have dreamt would be built. The roads and traffic are horrendous too. Getting onto the A27 from the centre of the town was bad anyway but its been made worse by taking one whole lane and making it into a cycle lane. Who thought that up? A field opposite where my sister lives has been agricultural since I was a child and it runs parralel with the A27 which is already grid locked for much of the time. There is a proposal to build 427 homes on this site which often floods. It’s just madness. Here in Shropshire it is becoming the same with villages being inundated with new homes and the sewerage works not being updated. Villages are slowly being eroded and no new infrastructure is being proposed. It cannot go on.

  44. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    If more people want to live in Sussex and Surrey then why shouldn’t they ? Build where market forces dictate and stop NIMBY locals moaning about it.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      I have a two word answer to your post. The second word is ‘off’.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I quite enjoy my train journeys through Sussex, on my way to Gatwick. What have I noticed of late? Soulless housing estates going up to meet the demands of a growing population – and solar farms being built over the farmland necessary to feed people.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        people want electricity to run all the appliances, and soon their cars.
        Food? – nah….just import it, until the EU countries tell us to sod off!

  45. acorn
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The system has to make sure that it is very expensive to hold land out of use, at the moment this is free of charge. All land must be valued not at its current use but at its optimum use (residential housing). There are no incentives for land barons to bring land into productive use, until surrounding community development of infrastructure, pumps up its value.

    Estonia; Denmark and Finland have demonstrated how Land Value Tax (LVT)transformed the use of hoarded land. Rates of 0.5 to 2.0% per year with two yearly valuations are used with penalty rates up to three times normal for urban land deliberately being held idle by Rent-Seekers.

    Alas and for obvious reasons, a Conservative government will never be allowed to introduce a Land Value Tax.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Land barons?
      Are you living in the 16th century?

      If I or you happen own a few acres it is up to us what we decide to with it.
      Keep it as meadows or build a new town.

      Nothing to do with the meddling Government.

      • hefner
        Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        I am afraid it is a bit more complicated than that. Please look at
        The map is interactive. Black is Ministry of Defence, green National Trust, Dark red Overseas companies, Pink ‘Section 31 declaration’.
        Draw your own conclusions.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 5, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          Don’t be afraid Hef

          I realise some land is controlled by public bodies and others.
          Still a bit of land left for us plebs.

  46. kenneth
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Just as the obvious answer to covid was to shut the border, the obvious answer to housing is to drastically reduce immigration.

    Since the unelected socialists are still in charge and cutting immigration is not allowed, I suggest we build a couple of new cities rather than adding the claustrophobia that has turned my village (as many other places) into a town full of strangers.

  47. Christine
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    The madness of concreting over our beautiful country will continue until you get a grip on immigration. Your Government promised to get it down to the tens of thousands yet it has ballooned to over half a million a year. You might not be able to control EU immigration at present but you have no excuse for not controlling non-EU immigration. Follow what other countries do and clear out the criminals, over stayers and those who can’t support themselves. Stop trying to be the welfare state of the world. It’s our tax money you are wasting.

  48. Anthony
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Please push this point hard John. Surely, as a government that, presumably, still believes the market can send useful price signals, the selection of areas where houses should be built should be driven by where prices are highest. This can be done on a regional basis so that London prices would be compared with the wider South East, but particularly the places where people commute from (making use of travel to work areas). Newcastle would be compared to the North East in price terms.

    Then, please encourage some joined up thinking. Notwithstanding Covid, if people are then commuting into London, work out how much transport is needed. This is particularly true for the local networks outside of the South East which is comparatively well served and spend the infrastructure budget getting these extra people to work.

  49. Julian Flood
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Interesting. Snipped for commenting about the excessive housing targets for East Anglia. Perhaps this is too sensitive a subject.


    • Julian Flood
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Not snipped, just very slowly modded. I must apologise and learn to be more patient.

      insert rueful smiley here.

  50. RichardP
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    It looks as though housing development will continue as usual. Expensive consultations which are then ignored and the houses rammed in anyway.
    So let’s save some money and leave the legislation as it is. Just carry on building unsustainable amounts of housing without the appropriate infrastructure.

  51. Fred H
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I believe Wokingham has been told to build 1600 homes every year for 10 years?

    Wokingham population is roughly 170,000 – how many homes? 100,000?
    At 0.5% increase : 100,000 x 0.5% = 500 homes ADDED.

    Any comment to make? Do planners expect the population to triple over 10 years?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Just had a look on Google Maps. Mr. Redwood and his government have pretty much got everywhere between the town centre and the A329M and M4 covered with houses. I’d forgotten about the massive estate now being built on the old TRL place in Crowthorne. Clearly Wokingham can only expand in this direction now so all the land between Pinewood and the railway line needs to be built on as soon as.

      Also, Sandmartin’s golf course is an appalling green blot on the landscape and needs building on forthwith. I can assure you that Mr. Redwood’s government will get this done ASAP. 300,000 extra people each year have got to live somewhere.

  52. a-tracy
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    “We need a levelling up one, where more homes are built in those places which want the investment.”

    Just wanting the investment doesn’t mean it is sensible in areas of unemployment, putting more homes where there is no decent public transport and no jobs is just a recipe for disaster. Also, the balance of lower-cost social housing needs sharing out better, the % of social housing in equal-sized Borough’s should not be more than 15%.

    If you want to build more homes in places like Stoke and Newcastle Upon Tyne then you need to put the jobs up there first. If you can’t do that don’t bother building. If you want to increase housing from 15,000 to 30,000 in one town then make damn sure you put public transport and better planning officers in the Council, more local businesses and better links to hospitals.

    There are changes that could be made to housing stock that is available, the sort of changes that private homeowners make, there is some really poor local housing and housing association stock housing that should have had investment spent on them instead of just putting it all into staff and senior executives wages (just how difficult is it to give houses out and keep them serviced – I could send you loads of photos of failures in our local areas).

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      One thing I would do if I ran the housing association/council housing if people can’t or won’t look after their garden and outside area, piling up rubbish and scrap vehicles, waste and pallets I would give them a week (two weeks maximum) to clear it up or I would give them notice I’m moving them to a flat/apartment/retirement apartment with no outdoor space for them to worry about.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink


        Believe it or not this was a condition of tenancy if you lived on a Council estate 40 years ago.

        Look after the house, the garden and hedges or lose it !.

        • a-tracy
          Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          I started life in my Nan’s tin council house, five years it took my parents to save up a deposit with two children in the back bedroom. She took a real pride in that house and garden, everyone did in the Street, polished windows and steps, mowed gardens, prizes for lovely planting up and down the street, vegetables and fruit growing in the back. It’s a different story now she’d cry if she could see it. She expected it though when they started moving druggies in up the street as the oldies died off.

  53. Christine
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    The number of empty homes across England has risen for the second consecutive year to more than 216,000, the highest level since 2012, according to official figures.

    Do something about this before you start planning yet more houses that just provide more profits for the house builders. If these properties are empty because there aren’t enough jobs then move some Government jobs to the area.

  54. Edwardm
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Seems like the formula doesn’t take into account the governments intention to boost areas distant from London.
    The projected figures for Surrey and Sussex would be disastrous for those counties. Surrey is already far too built on and overcrowded, and Sussex is already going the same way.
    The formula needs scrapping.

  55. BW
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I think Wokingham has had enough of regeneration followed by the constant building of massive estates.

    • Original Chris
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, BW, and it is an awful mess as a result, in my view, and still the congestion in Peach Street and Broad Street. Good luck to the cafe culture planning model as well. Covid and this goverment’s destructive, ill thought out and flawed science based policies have put paid to that.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        and Rectory Road narrowing — what a nonsense that is.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink


      All the new roads and paths on these new estates are far too narrow, hence all the parking and obstruction problems.

      Local Authorities could have stepped in here at the Planning stage but clearly chose not to.

      Biggest farce of all are the so called North and South relief roads, using housing estate roads which are again too narrow, have too many sharp bends and will contain parked cars.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        How are Fire Engines going to reach the house on fire, with narrow roads, random parked cars etc.

  56. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    What’s the point of attempting to plan anything with your party’s shambles of a government? Nothing said can be relied upon, retractions or reversals follow after a day or so.

    And our borders are completely open – the south coast in particular. Thousands of illegal immigrants are welcomed.

    What about the true people of England? Where do we fit in Pretti Useless and globalist Boris’s grand scheme of doing nothing about it? They speak words but take no action.

    Remember Sir John, you are judged by the company you keep.

    • Michelle
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      I think they decided to dispense with the true people of England a while back. Remember, we don’t exist and England is ‘just an idea’ and all the notions of England pre-Blair and globalism was a figment of the imagination, a sad people clinging to a past that never existed.

      Yet, many of those who say such things rush to find those parts of England not yet enriched to live in and live the lifestyle they deny to others.

    • miami.mode
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      ……the south coast in particular. Thousands of illegal immigrants are welcomed……

      That’s probably why the algorithm suggests building more homes in Sussex and Surrey. Not too far to house them.

    • Irene
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      +1 to The Prangwizard

      You are indeed judged by the company you keep. If that company shows itself to be lacking in many of the values that are treasured by decent people, your own reflection will be tarnished. There is no doubt about that, no room to manoeuvre, no excuses.

  57. Rhoddas
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Sir John, the annual 300k housing figure looks close to the net inward migration figure, so sadly much of the housing demand is coming from here…. if Priti’s immigation points system works well we shall have better control of this from 2021 …

    From 1984 to 2019 net migration has increased the UK population by approx FIVE million or nearly 10% (source: House of Commons Library Briefing CBP06077: Migration Statistics). This acutely demonstrates demand side control is equally as important as supply side policies. The unknown numbers of illegal immigrants or visa overstayers are not included in these figures…. The hinted at new Digital ID card should be designed so as to enable identification of all illegals for processing and repatriation.

    Online shopping trends and C19 impact has accelerated transformation for many companies into higher permanent WFH (working from home) operations and this means it’s time to take a radical approach to housing. Repurpose the now empty/derelict high street/mall/business park/shops/offices into apartments and affordable housing. They already exist, so adaption costs should be less than breaking new ground and avoids building on green fields. Set policies to encourage and allow this.

    We also have much less flying for the medium term, so lets re-use part of the unused facilities at affected airports to house illegals temporarily, before returning them on repatriation flights, using the planes/pilots that stand idle? They already have substantial security infrastructure and many of the airport staff are under threat of redundancy, this repurposes their work into something we need now.

  58. beresford
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    OT, I see the Globalists have unleashed their attack dogs on Tony Abbott. Sky News initially referred to Australia’s ‘controversial’ (i.e. successful) policy on illegal immigration and then Kay Burley tried to pin Matt Hancock into agreeing that Abbott was a ‘misogynist’ and a ‘homophobe’ who should have no place in government. They tried the same line with Nicola Sturgeon, who just ignored the line of questioning altogether. Surely the globalists aren’t concerned that Abbott might influence government policy on trade deals which may occur IF Brexit happens.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      This is an exercise in ‘holding the line’ for the government. They’ve made a decision and should now stick with it. If any minister is invited to attack Abbott then they should decline, terminating interviews if necessary. And Abbott should be told not to apologise. Having just seen Burley in attack mode, my opinion of her has slumped even further. Looking purely at the politics of this, Boris would gain from showing some consistency.

    • herebefore
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Interesting that Liz Truss recommended him.. must be nothing else happening.. four months to go and with no trade deals lined up the Govt is thinking about putting Abbot in the driving seat? methinks we’re in right trouble now

  59. Mark J
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    You just have to look at examples such as the Battersea Power Station redevelopment in London to see what the problems are. A great development, however 50% of the properties have been sold to private investors, the properties themselves are expensive and little to no social provision. How this this benefiting London residents from getting on the housing ladder?

    Another such example is the ‘buy to rent’ development going up opposite Reading Station, with properties built for the sole aim of BTL. No social provision is being made with the developer ‘buying off’ RBC with money for social provision elsewhere – money that will obviously be spent on other things.

    There is little point in building ever more properties if:

    a) The majority remain overly expensive for first time buyers.
    b) Properties are being sold off in huge chunks to foreign investors. Many of whom leave them empty.
    c) Migration is not controlled. You will need to continually need to build large numbers just to cater for the numbers of incoming people.
    d) Developers are allowed to get round the rules of social provision, with financial bungs.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      None of that matters as long as there is a fast buck to be made by someone. That is the state of current Toryism. One Nation Tories died out years ago, in favour of dog eat dog. Boris says he is a One Nation Tory, but has anyone noticed any sign of it?

  60. JoolsB
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    +1. Indeed, not much to choose between the two socialist parties anymore, We had our host, a true Tory MP and a dying breed at that, on the airwaves yesterday putting forward the very sensible case for lowering taxes and then we had one of his colleagues Jeremy Hunt saying taxes would have to go up but only for the wealthiest and he calls himself a Tory espousing nonsense like that..

    John, as usual, you are nearly always right on with the popular mood but is this site just a talking shop or do you take some of the issues we feel strongly about further. As Lifelogic says, the state sector needs to be halved and the quangos got rid of but if anything your Government is adding to them. This week you saw how strongly we feel about England not having representation but what is to be done about any of it?

    Sadly Boris and this so called Tory Government are turning out to be the biggest disappointment ever.

  61. backofanenvelope
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    The government is importing over 300,000 extra people each year. Just stop doing it!

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      spot on

    • turboterrier
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink


      Just stop doing it.

      They can’t and they won’t. Situation normal.

  62. Mark
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Frankly the idea of a Soviet plan is utterly abhorrent. The government should concentrate on removing the many distortions in housing markets and letting markets operate. Among the markets needed are ones in compensation for loss of amenity, which provide incentives to allow building on the one hand and disincentives in terms of cost on the other.

    As it seems likely that we will be seeing a significant additional exodus from major cities as more people work from home any plan is likely to fail on first contact with reality. Meantime, there is abig notch in the population pyramid for teenagers. That means fewer new households in the next few years unless we send net immigration into overdrive.


    Incidentally I recommend exploring the pyramids by local area. They reveal a lot about local populations.

  63. Nigl
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    So now we are told the illustrative numbers are not the actual ones. So what’s the purpose or how close are they?

    You don’t give me much confidence in the process to date. What I am sure of is that when the government fall short, all this consultation business will be thrown out of the window and they will decree more of the South East is concreted over only thinking of themselves, short term politically.

  64. XYXY
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Why do we need more houses? The number of houses empty for 6 months or more in 2019 was (from memory) 216k. The number of homeless people, only a little higher.

    That’s ignoring empty bedrooms, some of which will be in HMOs.

    I don’t think there is a housing problem, I think there’s an aspiration problem. People used to start by living at home with parents, scrimping and saving to afford a deposit on a 1-bed flat. Then they move up from there.

    Nowadays everyone moves out, has a family of 4 (now even necessarily in that order!) then complains that they can’t afford housing for them.

    Also, people with no skills are supposed to be able to buy a house on a 25-year deal. That’s ridiculous. We saw what sub-prime did to the world economy, let’s not go there again.

    Further our financial services are very staid, even before the government foisted further affordability restrictions on them. in Sweden, for example, you can get a 50 year mortgage, so the repayments are very low. In other countries you can get multi-generational mortgages. This makes “affordable” housing a very different issue.

    Giving council houses away via right to buy is socialism in blue clothing. It is attempting to buy votes for the Conservative party with OPM (other people’s money). We cannot simply try to rope in young voters in this way – in the 1980s the people were at least semiskilled who were new to the buying market, now we seem to think it’s ok to just give a house t anyone and then worry about how they pay for it consistently over decades (without resorting to benefits to pay the interest – how is that a good idea?).

    Then of course, there is that old immigration question.

  65. Caterpillar
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I think MPs continual ducking of the population question is pathetic. In the next two to three decades the U.K. is due to become Western Europe’s largest country by population, and much of this population in England.

    The question is

    Is this an intentional cross-party population strategy or is it a a cross-party failure to control immigration (and reproduction)?

    If it is the first of these the reasons clearly need to be explained to the public, I suspect the majority of the people do not have an understanding of the aim behind the population growth and will just see capital resources spread thinner, GDP per capita not growing, mobility of lower SEC reduced, environment and countryside more damaged, transport inconvenienced etc.

    If is the second of these then a simple list of why there is a cross-party failure to control immigration should be issued and those reasons fixed – I presume there is at least one brain somewhere in the HoC or HoL. An enumeration of the number of people immigrating to the U.K. by reason/justification each year needs to be publicised and a targeted cap (which could be zero) for each reason given. Once the value in each category is reached each year then no more should enter until the following year. Those in the country illegally or overstaying or failed asylum claims should be removed. There is a tendency for lawyers to complicate and drag things out, there is a responsibility on lawmakers to simplify laws such that this does not happen.

    Whether intentional or uncontrolled if the population growth in one year is ahead of the production of required capital then the following year’s immigration should be set to zero until capital catches up.

  66. Michelle
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    The comments on here are very much aligned with comments elsewhere and from very varying outlets.
    People want mass immigration stopped, whether it’s tagged as ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ but honestly the latter seems to be morphing in to the former anyway.
    We haven’t even touched on the UN Migration Compact and what that could bring in possibly even higher numbers coming to the Country.
    The electorate have made it clear time and time again they want all immigration cut to the bone, and time and time again they have been ignored.
    The problems of sustained immigration on the huge scale we’ve seen are all rearing their ugly heads now, and shortages in housing is one of them.
    I’m also baffled as to how mass house building fits in with ‘green’ issues. You’ve still got to pour heaven knows how much concrete into the ground, is that ethically green? I suppose slapping the ‘sustainable’ label on does the trick.

    The Conservative Party has been in step with Labour over immigration ( and the accompanying political correctness to force it down our throats) since Cameron and highly unlikely to stop with such as Johnson and Patel among others.
    Therefore, expect the building over England to commence, and go on and on and on.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Agree with everything you say.
      And on the subject of new houses, how do multiple bathrooms, en-suites etc fit in with greeny water saving?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        you don’t use MORE water – do you imagine the taps are on at every point in the house? What about the horrendous use of water to build each and every speculative new house.

    • Ginty
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      And it doesn’t stop until this country is as shit as the worst places on Earth.

      We pay people to run a country this way ?

  67. Caterpillar
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Planning permission for new build homes should be given only to buildings that are at an absolute minimum of 10 stories high with at least 40 residences, including sufficient basement parking. No new bungalows, houses or low-rise should be built.

    I would also suggest severely limiting permitted development of current housing to just a porch and maybe small conservatory. Also no planning permission should be given for any other modifications of existing residences. This is necessary as the growth of high density multi-occupancy properties and extended family properties is hiding the problems of both mass immigration and illegal immigration.

    If England continues with its population growth then more of the same suburban sprawl and property conversion is not the answer.

  68. SM
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    In 1920, the average life expectancy for a man was 55yrs, and for a woman 58yrs.

    In 2019, the average life expectancy for a man is 81yrs, and for a woman 84yrs.

    This significant rise must also be contributing to the housing shortage – perhaps the major emphasis should be on providing suitable housing for the elderly, and on encouraging them to move.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Growth in children surviving early years, decades of immigration -plus higher birth rate in those communities, and more recent doubling in immigration numbers is far more relevant to the need for housing.

  69. czerwonadupa
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I think the latest member of the Bullingdon Club is showing the electorate we have had our fill of the privately educated, Eton & Oxford types who still seem to think they were expensively educated for the sole purpose of leading the country.
    The problem is that all of them wanted to abrogate responsibility into foreign organisations.
    Where is the party or politician prepared to stand up for the ‘silent majority’ who will speak out for them against the tsunami of forces wanting to swamp & diminish this country, wetherby immigration or education, it’s people, history & culture?
    He/she is certainly not in parliament at present.

    • Ginty
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Keep the blonde buffoon in place.

      A great representation of this awful government.

  70. PB
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    The point may have been made above but it does not all need to be greenfield development. I suspect a number of property companies will be looking to convert redundant office blocks / shops or similar to residential city / town centre homes if the new normal turns out as expected. I am sure they will be looking to ascertain local demand first.

  71. Hank Rearden
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    This is a very sane article and quite impressive that someone in Westminster “gets it”

  72. Iago
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    “I have a great deal of sympathy with those who are so desperate as to put their children in dinghies or even children’s paddling pools and try to cross the Channel.” Johnson yesterday. God help this country.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Boris must go. Dinghie or not. Ditch or not!

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      They left a place of safety, having passed through others. Send them back.

    • Ginty
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Why aren’t the French putting them up in hotels ?

  73. ian
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    If I remember right TORY voters voted for more housing and have been writing on this blog for years now insisting on it, so the gov is making sure your requests are dealt with by turning empty shops and other building into housing on top of the extra 300,000 new houses to be built a year, who the Tory party plan on putting in these new homes I have no idea but it looks to me that a big rise in the population is on the cards, doing a quick calculation on the back of a fag box 4 people per new house come to 1.2 million people times that by five years come to 6 million people plus shops and other building to be converted to housing with planning rules changed, well need I say more after the C 19 debacle with loads of shops and other building now standing empty, the timing is impeccable and right on queue to try to have the biggest population in Europe by country. Germany population is 83 million people.

  74. Everhopeful
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Just a thought.
    If we all had to be locked up and now muzzled to save what is laughingly called our “health service”….HOW COME it is deemed ok to bring loads of new people into the country??

  75. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Is Boris going to cave into pressure from the MSM not to appoint Mr Abbott? Burley on Sky News was smearing his character today.

    If he does he must resign, and so must you Sir John if he doesn’t.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Abbott for our PM. Fair swap?

    • hefner
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      The only little problem with your comment is that there are recordings of interviews and archives of newspaper articles that can be easily checked. So Kate Burley as a good journalist who checks before talking (not like you) was not ‘smearing’, she was just repeating facts.

  76. ChrisS
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    If we reduced immigration to under 100,000 a year, there would be no need to build 300,000 new dwellings a year.

    The current level of house building is more than enough for the current population plus 100,000 new arrivals a year.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      At 100,000 non-British immigrants each year and their annual increase thereafter, how long before the native British are outvoted even if they vote as a bloc?

  77. miami.mode
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    All these comments about leaving it to market forces is amusing. Basically the government controls the market as is proved by the pause in stamp duty and all the other factors in life that they control.

    On the affordability factor, well of course areas around London will come out better as there is far more opportunity to secure well-paid long term employment. Why would people move to somewhere like the north east if they have to constantly worry about security of employment.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      You have just proved our point. Had the government not interfered in what is a private transaction, the market could, and would, function quite well without it.

      Stamp Duty is a tax by another name and the government offers nothing in return. It is naked interference.

      • miami.mode
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Every action by the government provokes a reaction by the public.

        Government directly controls interest rates. planning, immigration, and taxation all of which have a direct effect on housing costs and therefore the market. With a single Act of Parliament e.g. coal mining they can devastate an entire industry and force those employed in that industry to seek work elsewhere often meaning they have to relocate to more prosperous areas of the country and thus seek housing. This has had a dramatic effect on the UK outside of the south which was largely semi-rural areas – the precise opposite of what our host is asking for.

        You can’t pick and choose which part of the housing market you do not wish the government to participate in; they are at the root of it all.

  78. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    How come MP’S can work virurally until November while the public are being urged to get back to work?

    Reply Most MPs including me have been attending Parliament in person since June

  79. Fred H
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    new BBC DG – -but same old, same old.

    The BBC’s new director general has said he doesn’t support any switch from the licence fee to a subscription service. In his first speech since taking over, Tim Davie said such a change “would make us just another media company” that serves only “the few”.
    But he told staff there must be “a radical shift in our focus” so everyone gets value from the licence fee. He warned that the BBC currently faces a “significant risk” and has “no inalienable right to exist”. He said: “If current trends continue, we will not feel indispensable enough to all our audience. We must evolve to protect what we cherish.”

    The licence fee is currently guaranteed until 2027, but there is a debate about the BBC’s funding beyond that.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 3, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      The royal charter needs to be removed

  80. hefner
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    ‘The Dow Jones Industrial just closed above 29,000! You are so lucky to have me as your President. With Joe Biden it would crash’ 9:05PM 09/02/2020.
    Today even without ‘Sleepy Joe’ the DJI was at 28,272.60 (-2.84%) @ 6:12PM 09/03/2020. Here’s what happens when ideologues comment on the markets. Valid also for exchange rates.

  81. Will in Hampshire
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that Mr Jenrick and his department have decided that the answer to the question “where should the new houses go” is “where the good jobs are”. I guess that’s understandable, and makes sense for both the house builder and the house buyer. But it perpetuates the problem.

    Perhaps the government should look into measures that incentivise formation of new jobs away from the affluent South East. This could mean subsidizing relocation costs for existing businesses that choose to move, eliminating stamp duty on employees moving out of the south east permanently, and/or subsidizing costs of employment in these places. If these measures are effective, then perhaps developers would have confidence to build in these areas too.

    Together these measures might make up the outline of a method to actually achieve ‘levelling-up’ that could be pursued alongside more direct government investments in infrastructure.

  82. Dave, Spencers Wood.
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Your government’s proposal seems to involve putting all the power in the hands of developers and none in the hands of residents nor councils.

    So, I guess that those of us in the west of Wokingham can look forward to even more housing but with no supporting infrastructure, and with no say over the details of any development. If that’s what happens, how well will that go down on the doorstep?

    Will Bridge Farm Quarry be back too?

  83. Gremilgob
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 10:38 pm | Permalink



    Please. All of you. Just quit.

    You couldn’t have messed our country up worse than you all have.

    This country would be far FAR better off without politicians.

  84. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 3, 2020 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I favour zero population growth for UK which implies drastically reduced immigration. Be that as it may, there is at the moment a scarcity of housing.

    I favour an indirect method of helping the house building process. Add two new council tax bands at the top end, bands I and J liable to council tax at 2 times and 4 times the present band H rate. The effect will be that some impoverished landowners will sell off some of their land and property to developers. Developers would build houses on this good land instead of on flood plains.

  85. Lifelogic
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “No need to increase taxes” not only “no need” but from the current hugely over taxed position would be actively damaging.

    The seems to be an assumption that taxes should be at the Laffer point so as to raise maximum revenue (many are above even this already). But no, no, no they should be at the lowest point they can be so as to raise just enough to do the rather few things that governments can do better than individuals, charities and private companies. 25% of GDP maximum. The point that is best for the public not just for the 20% who “work” for the state sector!

  86. Margaret Parker
    Posted September 8, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Despite three letters to the Ministry of Housing the components of the previous formula could not be explained, and it is now proposed to foist another formula (not an algorithm) on the general public. No logical explanation has been given as to why the particular components were selected or who selected them, namely: ONS projected annual household growth, workplace based earnings (as opposed to resident based earnings, which if used give a vastly different result) i.e. the Local Affordability Ratio, the random use of deducting 4 from the Local Affordability Ratio, then dividing it by 4 and multiplying it by 0.25. If you can get an answer to how this illogical formula has been chosen Mr. Redwood we wish you luck.

  • 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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