Where Lyons purred, councils can roar

By John Healey | 11 November 2014

The Lyons Housing Review, commissioned by Ed Miliband and published last month, is the most comprehensive report on housing for any government or opposition party since Kate Barker’s report on planning eight years ago.

It paints a compelling picture of the dire position we are in as a country. Our nation’s future well-being depends on ensuring our children and grandchildren have somewhere decent and affordable to live. Yet there’s now an estimated shortfall of a million homes, and we’re falling further behind every year. Last year only 110,000 new houses were built, less than half the number needed just to keep up with the formation of new households.

But Sir Michael Lyons’ review also provides something that most studies don’t: hope. It sets out a range of changes to planning, public institutions and financing which together could result in a major increase in the number of homes built. And it does so despite working within the coalition’s fiscal constraints which are politically, economically and socially indefensible.

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