“The Government should prove it is serious about boosting homebuilding by forcing landowners to sell up, a top housing association boss has told MPs.
Public land should also be used for construction to bypass the sluggish system for buying and building on private space, said David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, which represents non-profit associations.
“If we are going to build 300,000 homes a year we need quite muscular government action on land, on the compulsory purchase of land in the way that we did in the 50s and 60s for the new towns and the peripheral estate urban extensions that were built in those years,” Mr Orr told the Treasury Select Committee.
“And I certainly think that we need a much much more vigorous approach to the use of publicly-owned land.
“If we are to make a transformative change in the level of supply, if you are going to build houses, you need access to land.”
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, used last week’s Budget to set out plans to boost construction by offering funds and guarantees to builders as well as scrapping stamp duty for most first-time buyers.
Bur Mr Orr was unimpressed with the effort, noting that the Office for Budget Responsibility did not change its forecast for construction levels despite the Budget’s measures.
He said that extra guarantees beyond the £8bn offered last week would also be a substantial help.
Brian Berry at the Federation of Master Builders, which represents smaller construction firms, said those solutions from the Chancellor do little to address the supply shortfall.”