The following is a guest post by the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain of The Freedom Association.
The housing crisis is both acute and chronic. Why?
Local councils are partly to blame: for decades they have not increased the supply of council houses, while their deliberately complicated approval procedures obstruct private building companies.
Iniquitous stamp duty doesn’t help and neither does buy-to-let.
Nimbyism – both by private individuals and vociferous self-interest groups as well as institutionally by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and the National Trust - hampers construction plans.
Land-hoarding. Property companies are buying land but opting not to build on it, preferring to wait and watch prices rise.
Over the ten years’ recession, banks have been unwilling to lend.
And the help-to-buy scheme has inflated prices.
Those are a few of the reasons for the housing shortage. But politicians and the media are reluctant to draw attention to the biggest reason of all: immigration which has massively increased the demand for housing. To meet this demand the UK needs to build 300,000 homes a year - one every two minutes. We are nowhere near this target.
In England alone we need to build 240,000 houses every year for the next 25 years. Immigrants will - and already are - accounting for 45% of these. Thus we shall need to build one home every four minutes for the next 25 years just to house future migrants and their children.
Astonishing but true: official figures show that over the last ten years, 90% of the additional households created in England were headed by a person born abroad.
And in London all the additional households formed in the last ten years were headed up by someone born overseas.
In the short term the UK needs to build more homes. In the longer term any housing strategy must also address demand.
Obviously a significant reduction in immigration will also reduce the demand for houses.
A very few rich immigrants are buying up expensive properties in London. But this does not contribute very greatly to the housing shortage which is caused by the vast and relentless influx of poor people seeking a better life for themselves in Britain. They arrive and acquire relatively cheap houses in the inner cities which in many of our towns and cities they turn into ghettoes. I recently spent fifteen years as a parish priest in the City of London, right next door to Tower Hamlets, and noticed the substantial “white flight” from the East End into Essex.
The usual complaint from the locals was that massive immigration was making them feel they were unwanted aliens in their own country
This is the plain and unvarnished truth which neither our politicians nor the press dares mention for fear of the accusation of “racism.”
What, then, is the chief cause of the housing shortage?
Try political correctness – which is only our standard euphemism for moral cowardice.
All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.