- It has become widely accepted, including by the government, that the UK is in the midst of a “housing crisis”, where prices and rents have rocketed in key locations.
- There are a range of policies that would solve this, and many of them are well known. But none have been implemented because they have not been able to generate support from existing homeowners and the residents of areas that would see increased building.
- We propose three policies that would hand power back to residents; ways of solving the housing crisis that will also win political parties votes. Each would make a huge difference alone; together they could have a transformative effect on the housing situation in Britain:
- Allowing individual streets to vote on giving themselves permitted development rights, to build upwards to a maximum of six storeys and take up more of their plots.
- Allowing local parishes to ‘green’ their green belts, by developing ugly or low amenity sections of green belt, and getting other benefits for the community in turn.
- Devolving some planning laws to the new city-region mayors including the Mayor of London. Cities could then decide for themselves if they want to expand and grow and permit extra housing, or maintain their current size and character.
- Not only do young tenants and aspirant homeowners stand to benefit from a building boom that delivers more housing, but the economy could get a major jolt at a time of slow growth and difficult productivity.
- Evidence suggests that GDP per capita would be 30% higher—we would produce and earn nearly a third more every year—in just 15 years if we built enough homes in the right places. That’s £10,000 extra on the average household income.
- Politicians can solve the problem if they are willing to think big and propose policies that make reform work for everyone. Reforms that make most voters worse off have little chance of happening.
Read the full paper.