As Giles Wilkes has told us all, nef stands not so much for the new economics foundation as for not economics frankly. It is thus rather worrying to find that they agree with us. Even, that we might have influenced their thoughts on a subject. For to find agreement from such a group does mean that we've got to rethink our own position.
So, done that, yes, we're still right, as they are here:
There is another, more prudent and effective way of delivering the homes we need. The chancellor made positive noises about increasing the supply of land for homes. And it’s true that a lack of land underpins the housing crisis.
Well, OK, they're nearly right. We don't have a lack of land in the UK at all. Not even in the areas around London. What we have is a lack of land with planning chitties associated with it. The solution, therefore, is either to have more chitties or to do away with the need for them entirely.
Of course, nef then goes off the rails as usual:
So why is the government selling off land it already owns? If public land was kept in public hands, it could be used to back a People’s Land Bank to deliver at least 320,000 genuinely affordable homes by the end of this parliament. The People’s Land Bank could also be expanded by giving councils the powers to buy any land at “use value”, moving land that is being banked for private gain into public use. This land could then be leased out to community groups and housing associations to build homes at prices that are affordable for the local area. In one go, we could increase access to cheap land for housing, and break up a housing market dominated by a handful of developers, by getting the social sector building again.
Land is cheap, planning permission expensive. Thus reducing the price of the permission is the solution. The method of our solution being to blow up the Town and Country Planning Act. But at least we've got to the point where even the nef is noting that this is all a supply and demand thing. Make more land available to build houses upon and the land to build houses upon will be cheaper.