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Prime minister vows to fix 'dysfunctional' housing market

Prime minister vows to fix 'dysfunctional' housing market

The UK property market is "dysfunctional" and needs state intervention to put it right, prime minister Theresa May has said.

In her keynote speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham yesterday (October 5th), Mrs May listed housing as one of the key areas where her vision of a "Britain that works for everyone" could only be realised with significant state intervention to make sure economic growth did not bypass parts of the population.

Arguing that this is exactly what it had done - prompting reactions such as the Brexit vote - she said the inability of many people to get on the housing ladder due to the lack of supply was a prime example of how the market in its current form had failed to deliver the goods.

She commented: "There is an honest truth we need to address. We simply need to build more homes.  
"This means using the power of government to step in and repair the dysfunctional housing market. It means using public sector land for more and faster house building. It means encouraging new technologies that will help us to get more houses built faster. And putting in more government investment too."

A commitment to more central government action in housing and elsewhere from Mrs May could mark a significant departure from the policies of previous Conservative administrations from Margaret Thatcher onwards, reflecting the fact that her political hero was Joseph Chamberlain, who as mayor of Birmingham in the 19th century transformed its infrastructure and improved housing.

The comments by the prime minister follow the announcements by communities secretary Sajid Javid earlier this week of £5 billion of funding to kick-start construction projects, boost smaller builders and get firms building more on surplus brownfield land in order to add an extra 40,000 to the number of new homes being built.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, who was appointed by Mrs May when she became prime minister in July, also used his speech this week to note that not enough new homes are being built. He referred to the plans announced by Mr Javid as an example of where government intervention can be used to help.

Image: iStock


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