Dr Eamonn Butler discusses the upcoming Autumn Statement on BBC News

Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, spoke to BBC News about the upcoming Autumn Statement and the challenge of tackling the UK’s deficit while implementing new spending policies on the NHS and road infrastructure.

Sam Bowman’s comments on the government’s plan to build homes on public land feature in CityAM and the Daily Mail

The Adam Smith Institute’s Deputy Director, Sam Bowman, was quoted in CityAM and the Daily Mail on the government’s proposal to commission and build homes on public sector land.

From CityAM:

However, the government’s latest bright idea for a fresh intervention into the housing market came in for sharp criticism.

Deputy director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, said:

The housing shortage does not exist because the private sector doesn’t want to build new homes – prices are rising rapidly, which signals demand is outstripping supply and there is profit to be made. The problem is that developable land is so scarce because the planning system makes it so.

Bowman argued that selling off public sector land would be a good idea, but if the private sector shows no interest in the land being sold, it’s a pretty clear indication it’s not somewhere people are particularly keen to live.

If the government then decides to build houses on the unsold land anyway, it would mean funneling taxpayers’ money into houses nobody wants to buy. The key to alleviating Britain’s housing shortage, says Bowman, is to liberalise the planning system and allow development in places where people actually want to live. In turn, that means “rolling back the green belt”.

From the Daily Mail:

Sam Bowman of free market advocate the Adam Smith Institute, said: ‘The housing shortage does not exist because the private sector doesn’t want to build new homes. The problem is that developable land is so scarce because the planning system makes it so.’

Read the Mail Online’s feature here.

Press Release: Danny Alexander’s new homes would fail the Location, Location, Location test

Commenting on the government’s proposal to build and sell homes on public sector land, Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, said:

Danny Alexander seems to have gotten the wrong end of the stick. The housing shortage does not exist because the private sector doesn’t want to build new homes – prices are rising rapidly, which signals demand is outstripping supply and there is profit to be made. The problem is that developable land is so scarce because the planning system makes it so.

Auctioning developable plots of government land for private sector construction would be a good idea, but if the private sector is not interested in the land the government is selling, it is because it is not in places people want to live. If the government goes ahead with building after the private sector has shown no interest in doing so, it means spending money it doesn’t have on homes that nobody really wants.

This announcement feels like just one more misstep by the government on planning and housing – the key is not just to build more houses, but to build more houses that people actually want to live in. The answer is to free up land in places where demand is already there – rolling the Green Belt back by a few miles around England’s cities would be the surest way to bring land and house prices down for good.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.