Sunak vows to build hundreds of thousands of homes as PM says he 'accepts people's anger' over home ownership

13 February 2024, 06:38 | Updated: 13 February 2024, 06:42

Rishi Sunak has pledged to build more homes for young people
Rishi Sunak has pledged to build more homes for young people. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Rishi Sunak has pledged to build hundreds of thousands of new homes in Britain's cities as he attempts to solve the housing crisis.

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The prime minister has admitted that the Conservatives have “much more to do” as home ownership among the young continues to decline.

New rules to be unveiled on Tuesday will mean urban councils failing to meet housing targets will be told they can only refuse planning permission on brownfield land in exceptional circumstances, The Times reports.

Full planning permission will not be needed to convert shops, officers and commercial buildings into homes, with Mr Sunak pledging to make use of already built-up areas.

The Government hopes the new rules will mean tens of thousands of new homes will be built in England's 20 biggest urban areas every year.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak said he hoped up to a million homes could be built on brownfield land.

The prime minister said he "accepted people's anger" over declining home ownership and admitted his party must do more.

Rishi Sunak has admitted the Conservatives have 'more to do' to solve the housing crisis
Rishi Sunak has admitted the Conservatives have 'more to do' to solve the housing crisis. Picture: Alamy

“I understand people’s anger when that dream [of home ownership] feels too far away for too many, especially the younger generation,” he told the publication.

“We know there is much more to do. [But] to solve the housing challenge, we must ask not just ‘how many’, but ‘where’,” Mr Sunak said.

“We won’t solve the housing challenge if we simply ignore people’s concerns or bulldoze through local opposition. All that would build is resentment.”

Read More: 'Fairer' social housing reforms will ensure system used 'in the right way' by those who 'play by the rules'

Read More: Gove warns young will abandon democracy if they cannot afford houses in new bid to win over 'Nimbys'

It comes after the Housing Secretary Michael Gove warned young people could 'turn away from democracy' if their dreams of owning a home are not realised.

Mr Gove has been lobbying Mr Sunak, as well as the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, to offer more to young people in the way of housing.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove
Housing Secretary Michael Gove. Picture: Getty
More housing is needed, think tanks and charities have warned
More housing is needed, think tanks and charities have warned. Picture: Alamy

In 1989, just over half of 25-to-34-year-olds owned their home in the UK.

Today, home ownership in that age group stands at 28 per cent, with more and more young people forced to accept to soaring rent prices or live at home into their 20s and 30s.

Research shows that those under 30 years old are spending around 30 percent of their income on rent, more than any other age group, as house prices in cities continue to soar.

Meanwhile, research from the Resolution Foundation found that up to 2.6 million people aged 18-34 were living in poor-quality housing.

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