Ministers are preparing to unveil a long-awaited blueprint to tackle the UK’s housing crisis by boosting the supply of new homes.
Barring any last minute delays, communities secretary Sajid Javid hopes to finally publish a housing white paper as soon as this Monday, months after it was first set for publication. The plans had previously been expected alongside chancellor Philip Hammond‘s Autumn Statement in November, and were then put back to January.
The white paper, a central plank of Prime Minister Theresa May‘s government, has been mired in delay amid rumours of concerns from backbenchers around radical planning changes and potential green belt development.
Government sources denied Tory infighting had held back the paper, but one senior MP told City A.M. that cabinet members had “taken fright” at some of the mooted proposals. It is thought that a recent decision to approve the construction of 6,000 homes on protected land in Birmingham was seen as a harbinger of a new wave of green belt development.
The paper will be Javid’s first major policy intervention since being handed the Communities brief last summer by May. He has vowed to bring forward “radical” proposals in the white paper, with a view to meeting the government’s ambitious target of constructing 1m new homes by the end of 2020.
Greater use of pre-fab housing is thought to have been one of his initial recommendations.
Sources say that May knocked back early drafts of the white paper, fearing a push-back from those opposed to large-scale development.