In a leadership campaign tweet reinforced by Corbyn Tweet the Guardian is reporting that
A Labour government run by Jeremy Corbyn would borrow £15bn a year to build houses across the country – half of them council homes – as part of a £500bn programme of public investment, new policy papers have revealed.
It would aim to build one million homes during a five-year parliament
Whilst welcoming expansion of social housing and council house building what evidence is there that councils and housing associations have a landbank of ‘shovel ready’ sites with planning permission to hit this?
Councils have sold off most easily developable land and most projects by even the most progressive council involve intensification of existing land such as council estates – which take time. Faced with difficult financials and cuts in funding housing associations have run down their land banks.
The fact is such targets could only be hit through private land and their is a huge risk of a public spending induced land price bubble blown up by slow progress on local plans.
This policy is introducing a 1950s level of social housing spending to a teenies level of public sector landbanks, a recipe for disaster.
The sad fact for those on the momentum left is this policy is unimplementable. It could only stand a chance of success with some form of public sector partnership with existing landowners where profits are shared and where partnership is forced by some form of land tax. There would also need to be dedicated development corporation like delivery bodies to build new sites – that kind of policy can bring back housebuildings to historic post ware levels but would take at least 4-5 years to gear up – especially with the almost total absence of serious masterplanning for large new communities whether inner urban or Garden City.