Business Secretary, Vince Cable said more houses need to be built, even if it means using green belt.
With housing inflation reaching ‘dangerous levels’, Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said Britain needs to make tough decisions regarding how to double the number of new homes it builds. He added that using green belt in some cases might be the only way to prevent house price inflation from increasing further.
“We are in future going to have to take tough decisions about using green belt areas for new planned cities, garden cities for example,” Cable said. “I think what’s happening is worrying for many families, particularly low income and middle income families who can no longer get into the housing market. It means that people who can get mortgages are piling up private debt. It’s potentially creating financial instability, as the governor [of the Bank of England] has warned.”
He also noted that schemes like the government’s Help to Buy missed the bigger picture: that there is a significant lack of housing across the country.
“There is an enormous gap between what’s needed, which is probably 300,000 houses a year as my party is advocating, and what we’re currently getting, which is 125,000 to 130,000. We are way short on the housing supply which is needed.”
Double-digit house price inflation in London, Cable said, meant prices are now higher in the capital than in 2007. With house prices in London continuing to rise, living in the city is becoming increasingly difficult for many. However, house inflation is not limited to the south of England, and a lack of affordable housing is becoming a significant problem for many families across the country.
“In the short run the problem is that housing inflation is getting to dangerous levels and building new houses is necessary. Very large numbers of middle income families and indeed quite prosperous families can no longer get into the housing market.”