When Sam Bowman and George Monbiot agree then we know the End Times are near


Rains of blood will obviously follow, cats will lie down with dogs:

Sam Bowman, deputy director of 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.’

This is clearly and obviously so, as we have demonstrated in these pages many a time. But Sam's not the only person to have got the right end of the stick here. Much to everyone's surprise, George Monbiot has managed it too:

The Scottish government might address the speculative chaos that mangles the countryside while failing to build the houses people need. It might challenge a system in which terrible homes are built at great expense, partly because the price of land has risen from 2% of the cost of a house in the 1930s to 70% today.

Except that it's not quite the price of land which has risen. That's some £10,000 a hectare for reasonable agricultural land these days and that's suitable for 14 dwellings (according to the density rules that the planning system insists upon). That just ain't 70% of the cost of a house. It's land that has the planning permission attached to it that allows you to build 14 houses on it that costs the vast amount: it's the cost of the chitty, not the cost of the land.

But with that slight correction, yes, we are all on the same page here. Housing is expensive and it's the planning system than makes it so. Thus, if we desire cheaper housing then we need to reform ("reform" here being a synonym for "blow up with extreme vehemence") the planning system.

And given that the End Times must indeed be approaching given this convergence of views perhaps we can also hope for a murrain that strikes NIMBYS*, BANANAS** and politicians***?

* Not in my back yard people

** Build absolutely noting anywhere near anywhere people

*** A third and virulent plague upon our society.