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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Why doesn’t Britain ever build enough homes?

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As Michael Gove is appointed Britain’s new housing secretary, Jack Blanchard investigates the crisis gripping the sector and asks why Britain seems forever unable — or unwilling — to build enough homes.

He speaks to three former ministers about their efforts to solve the crisis — including Gove’s friend and ex-flatmate Nick Boles, who admits his radical planning reforms of 2013 were a failure. Tony Blair’s housing minister Nick Raynsford insists New Labour were right to focus on improving social housing rather than building millions of new properties, but says a mass construction program is now needed. And Theresa May’s housing minister — and latterly chief of staff — Gavin Barwell admits her government became too bogged down in Brexit to push through radical reforms. Meanwhile, Gemma Burgess of Cambridge University offers her expert opinion on why homes are so expensive, and the Manchester Evening News’ Jennifer Williams offers a view from the North.

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Jack Blanchard

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