Hammond Re-Announces Existing Tory Housing Policy

Philip Hammond says housing is the “number one priority” for his Budget, well he’d better hope he’s got more in his locker than what was pre-briefed to the Sundays. The top line announcement of 300,000 new homes a year is already Tory policy – just last month Sajid Javid was using the same number. Not only is Hammond’s ‘new’ target not new, it is also entirely underwhelming. Last year 217,000 houses were built and that didn’t make a dent in the housing crisis. A meagre increase of a quarter is nowhere near what Tory MPs have been asking for. Saj reckons they need to spend £50 billion to make a difference, Hammond is offering just £5 billion.

The verdict from the experts is damning – the Times‘ property correspondent says “even for current government’s standards, this has to be the weakest set of measures to fix the housing crisis seen in a long time”. The Chancellor’s other damp proposal to launch an inquiry into landbanking is classic Hammond and already has industry figures groaning. Meanwhile the think tanks are tearing their hair out, with the Institute of Economic Affairs bemoaning his refusal to countenance building on the green belt and the Adam Smith Institute arguing stamp duty should be abolished. Last week the government were promising us “real action” on housing and a Churchillian effort from Hammond to get Britain building. He needs something much bigger than this on Wednesday…

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