Does any political party have a winning way forward when it comes to solving our housing supply shortage?

One of the key topics for debate in the run up to the general election is undoubtedly the proposals for the ongoing housing supply problem.

The current government hasn’t yet achieved its target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year as proposed in their 2019 manifesto, with the latest national statistics demonstrating 234,400 net additional houses being delivered in 2022/23.

The housing market continues to face ongoing challenges, in part due to higher mortgage rates making it more expensive for buyers to purchase, alongside higher interest rates affecting developers’ own acquisition and development funding costs, construction inflation and persistent delays in the planning system.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 seeks to encourage the timely development of housing sites, with Councils being given powers to incentivise developers to achieve prompt delivery and build to higher standards (and to impose sanctions where this is not the case). However, the extent to which these measures will be implemented remains to be seen, given that many provisions require the implementation of further legislation and changes to the National Planning Policy to become effective.

So how do the main political parties measure up when it comes to their key policy plans on the topic?
The Conservatives intend to relax building restrictions in urban areas and make it easier to convert existing (non-residential) buildings into housing. 
Labour’s key proposals include the delivery of 1.5 million houses over a 5-year period, with a focus on encouraging development on brownfield sites and lower standard green belt sites, known as “grey belt” sites, with a particular driver on affordable housing delivery in these areas. 
The Liberal Democrats are proposing a community led approach with changes to the planning system and a view to ensuring more affordable housing can be provided.

The Green Party’s focus is on the increase of affordable housing supply, greater funding for affordable housing delivery, the introduction of rent controls in high price areas and the abolition of the right to buy system.

All parties appear united in the view that our current housing shortage is a key issue and that the target of building 300,000 houses per year target should remain. However, as always, the devil is in the detail and solving the UK’s housing shortage will require a multi-faceted approach that considers the planning system, development funding, development incentives, land supply, the supply chain, changing environmental requirements and of course affordability. 

If you have any queries about the contents of this article, please get in touch with Emily Danson.

Get in touch

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

Get in touch

Contact us today

Whatever your legal needs, our wide ranging expertise is here to support you and your business, so let’s start your legal journey today and get you in touch with the right lawyer to get you started.


Get in touch

For general enquiries, please complete this form and we will direct your message to the most appropriate person.