There were reports in the papers this week that Boris planning for a November 2023 election – saying that by them the benefits of extra housebuilding in the Midlands and North, as part of the levelling up agenda, will come through further eroding the red wall, and by then supply chain problems will have eased.
As General Elections plan go this is particularly cockeyed. He has created a new crisis in housing supply chains and the housing supply chain cannot be adjusted quickly enough to add more than a few 100 extra units, if any, probably reducing housebuilding in the North and Midlands by then.
Government programmes for extra brownfield housing take a long time. At Spending Review 2020 the Chancellor announced the National Home Building Fund (NHBF). Only this week was the brownfield component released.
To be released there has to be a programme of planning consents and a development pipeline. We know housing and planning (because of lack of planning reform) pipelines take years not weeks. So any levelling up programme announced in Nov 2021 spending review will take around 4 years to start delivering results on ground – not two. Project Speed for Housebuilding, from Boris’s conference speech for housing its become Project Sloth. What is more im sure Ricci in new Austerity mode will reduce the overall housing budget and have a smaller levelling up focussed housing fund as a sticking plaster.
If the sites are not yet in local plans then any shift in targets will require at least a 3-4 year time to adopt the plans (again because of a lack of Planning Reform), and because of lack of capacity and viability for brownfield the increase will be on Greenfield in sensitive Red Wall seats. As ever Boris pulls out his clown gun, dreams up a silly not thought through wheeze and shoots himself in the face with custard.