Brown will miss housing target

Gordon Brown will fail to hit his target of three million new homes by 2020 according to a senior figure in the housing industry.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation (NHF), said today unless radical action is taken only 1.6 million homes will be completed by 2020 and the full three million will only be reached by 2029.

It is the government’s target to build two million new homes by 2016 and a further one million, carbon neutral, homes by 2020.

He said: “With the global credit crunch worsening, and conditions getting tougher for all house builders, it is time to recognise that the very commendable 2020 target is now almost impossible.

“The climate for house building has changed beyond all recognition, for both private developers and social house builders. The number of homes being built is falling, and we need the government to take further action to put the programme back on track.”

He added the prime minister was “both brave and right” to put housing on centre stage.

“He is rightly aware that too many people are living in cramped and unsuitable conditions and that more than five million people will soon be on waiting lists for social housing.”

However, he said with the private sector badly damaged and the number of new privately built homes plummeting, support should be given to housing associations.

Mr Orr claims, with the right support, housing associations could build some 70,000 new homes a year by 2011, from the current level of 30,677.

The government maintains it is still committed to reaching the housing target.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communities and Local Government, said: “We are being flexible and responsive given the current economic climate.

“We remain committed to our overall housing target as the right long-term goal, whilst recognising the scale of the challenge this entails. However, we must remain as ambitious as possible.”

Earlier this month, the government did launch a serious of measures to bolster the property market – including £400m to boost spending power for social housing providers – however ther have been criticised for being too little too late.