Affordable housing seems to dominate today's Telegraph. Front page announces that " House prices are at their most overvalued for 15 years" and page 4 previews an announcement by shadow housing minister, Michael Gove of a proposed new scheme which would allow househunters to buy only the actual building, leaving ownership of the site with a community trust. I will be interested to read details of this scheme - but the real answer is to eliminate the shortage by building more houses.
The main culprit is the planning system - the leviathon state at its worst. It is a real 'ball and chain' on local democracy and the single greatest cause of social disruption in our rural areas. The whole planning system needs a radical overhaul, giving much more freedom to Local Planning Authorities to decide what is appropriate for their own areas. If an LPA decides that it wants to satisfy an obvious local need by approving an application to build houses, why on earth should 'cental' government stop it.
So many young people's dreams of home ownership are destroyed by our planning system. So many marraiges founder on the frustrations imposed by our planning system. So many communities are asphyxiated by a planning system that eliminates green space in towns - because of a mindless ban on building elsewhere. So many of our rural services are rendered unviable as young people fail to find housing in their local areas.
The worst part of all this is the new grotesque rules which have been brought in to prevent local councillors expressing their opposition to their planning 'masters' - threat of costs - ban on speaking when there is even the tiniest remote pretext. We need a new planning system which allows people to build more houses. The most effective response to a shortage is an increase in supply.