It has been revealed that the beleaguered government of Theresa May is to hold a summit at 10 Downing Street tomorrow to address housing market issues.
Speculation in Conservative-leaning newspapers suggests that the summit - which representatives of major housebuilders have been asked to attend - is one of a number of initiatives to pave the way for new measures in the Budget, set for November 22.
Government sources, cited in the Daily Telegraph, have said the Prime Minister will "lay down a challenge" to the industry to construct more homes, in a "significant intervention" following her promise to get more people onto the housing ladder.
At her now-legendary speech to the Conservative party conference, May said her premiership would be dedicated to solving the general housing shortage - although the £2 billion funding she announced for affordable homes during the speech was later dismissed as “chicken feed” by the Cambridge Centre for housing and planning research.
Yesterday evening May’s chief of staff - the former housing minister Gavin Barwell - tweeted: “PM taking forward pledge she made in her Conference speech to take personal charge of fixing broken housing market.”
Meanwhile the Sunday Times says the Budget next month is likely to announce some acceptance that areas of Green Belt land may have to be built upon, while councils may be allowed to borrow more to build their own public housing.
An unnamed Cabinet source in the newspaper says: “Lots of ministers are of the view that housing is where we need to be most radical and would be most effective.”
The source continues: “Downing Street is focused on the intergenerational fairness issue. There are quite headline-catching things that can be done on that front. Someone floated an idea about having different tax rates for younger people. We’re going to go in at that level and do even better if we’re going to have a radical Budget.”
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is cited in the newspaper as urging the Chancellor to announce bold measures, supporting some of the proposals put forward in the Housing White Paper in February.
These measures include banning letting agents’ fees on tenants as well as broad-brush pro-development commitments.
Last week a government minister proposed that stamp duty cuts could be linked to properties’ energy efficiency improvements.