‘War spirit’ needed to fix Britain’s housing crisis, says top Tory

Posted On: 
24th June 2018

A top Tory MP has suggested that tackling Britain’s housing crisis requires the same spirit and organisation seen during the Second World War.

Conservative backbencher Oliver Letwin is carrying out a major review of housebuilding in the UK

Oliver Letwin, who is carrying out a major housing review, has called for Government departments to unite in an effort to reach Theresa May’s ambitious 300,000-a-year new homes target.

The influential backbencher told the Telegraph: “When we were fighting the Second World War and we needed a lot of Spitfires, Lord Beaverbrook [then minister of aircraft production] got to work and just mobilised a lot of people so that all the things you needed for Spitfires were got into the right bit of the factory. Britain depended on it.

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“This is not that urgent, but it is quite urgent. It is a major plank of policy and it has a big effect economically.

“Somebody has got to go round and actually get all the bits together so you can get the Spitfires. At the moment that doesn’t happen.”

Mr Letwin said housebuilding was being delayed for “years and years” because of the slow delivery of transport links and power lines.

He also called for a new taskforce to work across Government coordinating the provision of vital supporting infrastructure, saying those responsible must “get their act together”.

It comes after ministers came under fire this week to explain why the 300,000-a-year new homes target had been left out of a key Government plan.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire admitted that the latest draft of the National Planning Policy Framework – which sets out how the Government will deliver new homes across the country – does not feature the goal.

Housing Minister Dominic Raab later insisted that the document has never included an annual delivery target, but Labour blasted the omission, claiming it rendered the pledge “meaningless”.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey told PoliticsHome: “After eight years of failure, the Conservatives have no plan to fix the housing crisis.

“Ministers’ housebuilding targets are meaningless if they don’t even feature in the Government’s national housing plan."