Vince Cable hits out at all the wrong targets on housing

Today the Liberal Democrats' annual party conference came to a close. Unfortunately Vince Cable missed the mark in his maiden speech as leader, attacking all the wrong targets for high house prices and ignoring causes to supply that government could easily fix.

Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said of the speech:

"On housing, Vince Cable has indulged in the sort of foreigner-bashing that his party usually attacks others for, and missed the point. 'Oligarchs and speculators' are neither a major feature of the housing market nor are they the real cause of high house prices. The problems he points to only exist because housing is an investment asset as well as a place to live, and that is because supply of new homes is so constrained.

"Many people in the Liberal Democrats recognize that the Green Belt is one of the main barriers to building more houses, and indeed Vince Cable has himself acknowledged this in the past. The market isn't working because planning laws have prevented house builders from providing the new homes that people want. Cable's proposals will do little to change that and might even make the housing market seem more dysfunctional by adding complications and extra taxes."

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