The answer to the UK's housing crisis is a massive liberalisation of theplanning laws, allowing developers to concrete over much more of the countryside. That was the controversial view put forward by Mark Littlewood, director general of the free market thinktank the Institute for Economic Affairs, at a heated fringe meeting sponsored by Moat housing association at the Liberal Democrat conference.
Littlewood argued that Britain's housing crisis was caused by a lack of supply and the only way to solve it was to free up the planning laws to such an extent that builders could provide a huge supply of houses needed to meet demand. His remarks provoked a strong response from the audience, many of whom objected to his proposals for what seemed to be the virtually unregulated building of houses across the country.
But he remained unrepentant, insisting that a radical solution was needed to solve a growing crisis and that solution was "growing the supply side not just fiddling around with the demand side".
Littlewood said: "What we need will require incredibly brave politicians and that is utterly enormous planning liberalisation." And he added: "Only 5% of the land in the UK is under concrete. If you double the amount under concrete to 10%, you could solve the housing crisis in a small number of years."
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