Government will fail on its promise to deliver a million new homes

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The Labour party has accused the government of dropping their pledge to build a million new homes during this parliament and failing to be transparent

The government is under fire over its ambitious housing targets. The Conservatives promised to deliver a million new homes by 2020, but local authorities are struggling to build the amount needed to reach this milestone. Criticism has been levelled at the government for a while now over this issue, and in fact it does seem likely the original target of a million homes by the end of this parliament will be missed. However, the government could still deliver its promise by extending this deadline to the end of 2020.

With this in mind, Labour have accused the government of side stepping this pledge and failing to be transparent with the public about the extra time it will take.

National Audit Office report

The news comes as a National Audit Office (NAO) report revealed the target for completion was December 2020, heralding an eight month delay on the original deadline. However, the audit organisation also said the government was on target to exceed the goal by the end of 2020. A total of 174,000 new homes a year are needed to meet this extended target, and with some 190,000 homes added to the housing stock last year this seems possible.

But Labour are saying now that the government should have been more transparent regarding the longer timescale for meeting the target. Shadow Housing Minister John Healey accused the Department of Communities and Local Government of not “not being straight with the public and moving the goalposts to try to make up for their mistakes”.

He added: “The report confirms that housebuilding is falling well short of demand and that the cost to the public purse is ballooning, with the temporary accommodation budget growing to cope with rising homelessness.

“Not only are they not building enough homes, the level of affordable housebuilding has fallen to a 24-year low, homelessness has doubled, and the number of young homeowners has fallen by a third of a million since 2010.”

Labour is not the only party to call the government out on this issue. The Liberal Democrats also warned of a gap between the number of homes built and the increase in demand for new properties since 2011.

Government remains committed to reaching new homes target

The government said it was still intent to see through its “ambition to build a million homes in this parliament and the NAO recognise we are on track to do so”.

The NAO report revealed that the government could meet the target of a million homes by 2020, but urged caution over Brexit, warning this could cause a downturn in the housing market.

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