Here is a wondrous example of how ridiculous the conversation about housing and affordability is:
Almost one in 10 new homes created in the last two years were converted from offices without having to go through the planning system, according to research by the Local Government Association (LGA).
This loophole of permitted development rights (PDR), which is legal, means that these new homes do not come with responsibilities to pay for affordable housing or invest in infrastructure such as roads, schools and health services.
The LGA, which represents councils across England and Wales, calculated that as a result it has led to the potential loss of 7,644 affordable homes over the last two years.
Housing completions are, roughly enough, 200,000 a year at present. So, we've gained 40,000 houses by the conversion process. As compared to not gained 8,000 from the tax upon new housing (that's what this affordable housing requirement is, a tax upon new housing). Now, neoliberals that we are, we think that's a net gain of 32,000 units. But then what do we know?
We would also insist that every single new housing completion makes all housing just that fraction more affordable. This supply and demand stuff really does work.
So, the only way we can explain this is that it's a bureaucracy complaining that they didn't get the money to spend or manage, rather than it being any concern about the amount of housing available or its price.
We'd also take one more little point from this. If being free of the affordable housing tax leads to more housing units then why don't we just abolish the affordable housing tax and have lots more housing units? After all, we do know that if you tax something you get less of it......