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PM sticks to debunked 'record housebuilding' claim

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday repeated previously debunked claims that the Government is building record numbers of homes.

Housebuilding have returned to the news agenda after 47 MPs delayed the Levelling Up Bill by signing an amendment banning mandatory housing targets.

Labour leader Keir Starmer used Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) yesterday to highlight that the typical age of a first-time buyer has hit 45 and questioned how tough Sunak is going to be on stopping backbenchers from blocking new homes being built.


Sunak responded: “We are delivering record numbers of new homes under this Government.”

He then hit back at Starmer with unrelated claims about Labour MPs joining picket lines.

This is the second time that Sunak has used PMQs to claim that the Conservative Government is building record numbers of homes.

He first made the same claim at the start of November.

Research by Full Fact, a charity fighting bad information through fact checking and campaigning, found that Sunak’s claim is not supported by the most recent figures published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) or the Office for National Statistics. 

The fact checkers said that according to the most recent quarterly figures on new supply, in the year ending June 2022, there were 173,520 new homes completed in England.

This is not a record—in the previous year to June, there were 181,900 new homes completed. 

It comes as Leeds Building Society this week warned that scrapping homebuilding targets would reduce supply.

Martese Carton, director of mortgage distribution at Leeds Building Society, said there is no silver bullet when it comes to solving the UK’s housing crisis but nationally set housebuilding targets exist for a reason. 

She highlighted that The Home Builders Federation has previously warned that scrapping the 300,000 targets could lead to 100,000 fewer homes each year, adding: “We are facing a chronic shortage of homes resulting in soaring house prices which drive deposit requirements and mortgages ever higher. 

“This means first-time buyers are finding it harder than ever to get on the ladder. Added to this, high interest rates are forcing up the mortgage costs for millions.

“Housing targets help to catalyse supply as well as providing consistency and stability – all things the market desperately needs as we seek to rebalance supply and demand.”

Carton said a national conversation is needed about the reasons why we’re building homes. 

She said: “To make our country prosperous and grow the economy, I believe everybody should have a home that’s decent and affordable. Secure housing is more than a roof over our heads, it drives positive outcomes in health, education, and social mobility.

“It’s understandable that people are protective of their communities and don’t want undue disruption or pressure on services and infrastructure, but the trade-off is between that, and millions of people being blocked from the benefits home ownership brings.

“Those supporting the effective removal of the 300,000 housing targets argue they want to put control in the hands of local people. We agree this is an essential component of deciding the development of communities, but this is no reason why the government should step back from having nationally published housing targets.”

She said there is scope to debate how national targets are developed and how to better understand local need, but warned: All too often we have seen that if targets are not in place, things simply do not get done.”

  • Matthew Payne

    It's been 139,000 on average since 2010, with net migration @ 307,000 pa over the same 13 years. Ergo housing shortage, but that shortage is getting bigger each year, let alone eating away at any defecit. Net migration likely to be 374,000 this year and that doesnt include the boat enthusiasts in the channel.

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    My analysis was the figure is 174,8000 new homes were built last year, going on 82% have an NHBC, and that figure is easily obtainable. Also what is missing is the number of residential properties demolished, or taken out of domestic use, this could be 8,000, so the net figure may be 166,800.

    Disco Gove lives in La La land, and his first priority should be to over staff the planning departments in the UK, which have such a paucity of staff, that decisions take three times as long as they ever did, so the chances of getting consent on 350,000 new build a year, that would produce the 300,000 is very slim to zero giving budgets on civil servants are being cut to the bone.

    What amazes me is that in 1988, there were 2M completions in the UK (caused by Chancellor Lawson tightening the Miras loophole - causing a stampede) and the population was just 57M, now we constantly only complete on around 1.2M properties a year, yet the population is 69M.

    So 12M more people live in the UK, but each year the number of properties completed stays at a stubborn 100,000 completions a month, could it be there just is not the housing stock, and why FTB's are looking at £278,000 as an average first time purchase, with more stock available it would solve a lot of problems. Go figure.

    Luckily we always have the rental sector - wait a minute - with all the taxation and red tape are not all the PRS landlords selling up ... oh dear, not enough houses being built and rental stock diminishing ... it looks like a difficult decade ahead, no worries though we have a PM with a 174M fortune - I bet he knows how to solve all of this.


    Did you hear You & Yours yesterday where there was a council bod and some woman from a do-gooder charity that advises tenants speaking like they owned the houses in the PRS. The council bod was saying that they don't have enough stock and S21 must be abolished to take the pressure off them when landlords want their properties back.

    As I understand it, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but with the VOA slapping CT on HMO rooms then they will be counted as the creation of dwellings and add to the figures of completed new-builds?

    Glenn Taylor

    Please sign and support my petition Andrew
    see linkedIn

  • icon

    "We are facing a chronic shortage of homes resulting in soaring house prices which drive deposit requirements and mortgages ever higher."

    Personally I think this should be taken with a very, very large pinch of salt. Our population is swelling enormously and the major part of that is immigration so that is the root cause. However the access to cheap finance through ZIRP has been the major contributing factor.

    The assertion that building more houses will keep prices low is absurd. Big building programmes inflate the cost of materials, which in turn pushes up the price of houses.


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