Leader: Time to fix housing

After months of build-up, the campaign trail is nearing the end and within days we will know who will govern the country for the next five years.

This election has been one of the closest in living memory and, with a majority unlikely, the make-up of the next government is anyone’s guess.

A key pillar of most manifestos has been housing and each party has promised to significantly increase housebuilding. Further, the Tories have pledged to expand the Right to Buy scheme to 1.3 million housing association tenants – receiving much criticism in the process –  while the LibDems have vowed to help young tenants with a deposit.

Of course, this is all to be welcomed but there is little in the way of detail as to how each party would achieve such an uptick in housebuilding.

Whichever party (or parties) is in power come 8 May, one of the first steps must be to promote the position of housing minister to the Cabinet. It defies logic that our political parties supposedly place so much importance on housing and yet the minister in charge of this area is not considered worthy of a seat at the top table.

The next step would then be to develop a definitive plan to solve the housing crisis. This has to be from the bottom up and must include a complete overhaul of the UK’s restrictive planning system.

The only way this can be achieved is in consultation with the industry; that includes housebuilders, trade bodies, and mortgage lenders and brokers.

Never has housing been so important, so we need a bold and radical new government that will match its words with actions.