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The government’s method used to assess the number of homes needed to fix Britain’s housing crisis is “flawed”, according to the UK’s public spending watchdog.

In a damning new report published today, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said that the government’s planning system “is underperforming and cannot demonstrate that it is meeting housing demand effectively”.

Such remarks add to growing pressure facing the government, which has pledged to support the delivery of 300,000 new homes ever year by the middle of the next decade.

“For many years, the supply of new homes has failed to meet demand. From the flawed method for assessing the number of homes required, to the failure to ensure developers contribute fairly for infrastructure, it is clear the planning system is not working well,” said Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO.

Morse added: “The government needs to take this much more seriously and ensure its new planning policies bring about the change that is needed.”

Ian Fletcher, director of real estate policy at the British Property Federation, said: “The findings from today’s report by the National Audit Office must be taken seriously by politicians. We have seen positive changes to national planning policy over the past year, but progress cannot be made without more resource at a local level. Planning has seen some of the most severe reductions in spending in recent local government cuts.”

Despite the government’s 300,000 target for the mid-2020s, the NAO said today that on average only 177,000 had been developed annually between 2005 and 2018, with the number failed to exceed 224,000.

The news comes in the same week as London mayor Sadiq Khan has faced accusations of “falling short” on housing targets after new figures showed home registrations tumbled 10 per cent last year.

There were 16,069 new home registrations in 2018, down from 17,932 the year before, according to the National House Building Council (NHBC), a warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK whose statistics provide an indication of the health of the market.

Andrew Boff, member of the London Assembly which scrutinises the mayor, said: “Before he was elected, the mayor said that delivering affordable housing would be his number one priority. Yet Khan has consistently failed to reach his own housing targets and these new figures show that he continues to fall short.”

Source: City AM

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