Housing minister exaggerates Tory record as building target is missed AGAIN

[Composite: Getty Images/PA].

[Composite: Getty Images/PA].

Someone should tell Gavin Barwell not to play fast and loose with the facts.

His claim that house building rates were at their lowest since the 1920s when the Tories came back into office in 2010 may be accurate, but his claim of “significant progress” since then is nonsense.

In fact, George Osborne’s first act as Chancellor was to slash housing investment by 60 per cent, resulting in a new housebuilding low, in 2012-13, of 135,500 dwellings.

So in fact, it is the Conservatives who are responsible for the lowest house building rate since the 1920s.

Barwell wasn’t lying about 2010 – he just wasn’t being honest about the situation now.

And the “significant progress”? An increase of 5,500 houses to 141,000 in 2013-14. In the calendar year 2014, another increase to 146,359, and then 156,140 in 2015.

That’s far fewer than the 219,000 that Labour managed in 2006-7, after the Barker Review of Housing Supply noted that about 250,000 homes needed to be built every year to prevent spiralling house prices and a shortage of affordable homes.

That target was dropped by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government.

It seems to have been revisited by David Cameron, but it is clear that the Conservatives are already missing their target by at least 30,000 a year – that’s 150,000 over the five-year period of the current Parliament.

And even that number could be subject to slippage.

Barwell should address himself to solving the problem, rather than dissembling about it.

The government is set to fail to meet its target to build one million homes by 2020, the Housing Minister has admitted.

The aim to build one million new homes by the end of this Parliament was announced by David Cameron’s government last year to meet estimates of the shortfall in the country’s housing needs.

Unveiling new measures to tackle the housing crisis, Mr Barwell told Sky News that the Government is currently building about 170,000 homes every year but added “we clearly need to do better”.

“We inherited a position in 2010 where house building rates in this country were at their lowest since the 1920s.

“We’ve seen significant progress.”

Source: Housebuilding target to be missed, says minister

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8 thoughts on “Housing minister exaggerates Tory record as building target is missed AGAIN

  1. Dez

    Stretching the data to present a glowing political statement, which is actually another porky pie, was something the Cons declared they would not do and that transparency was their new name of their game. Total poo, again and again why don’t they just tell it as it is. The truth is their builder mates what the shortage to continue so they can keep scewing the market prices and keep the profits high for their own bonus structures and shareholders. Nothing wrong with blatant greed I think we can all recognise it without Cons having to make out they are doing a better job than Labour when in fact it is far worse in the short term. I guess their contributions from Builders must be pretty generous to keep up this pretence as if they are on top of the problem. Planning in the UK have approved the target numbers the government wanted unfortunately the Builders want to max out their prices in a restricted build market. Kick their butts Gav and do your job.

  2. shaunt

    Hi All, the data set out below is taken from The Longman handbook of modern British history 1714-1987, Second Edition (1998), Chris Cook and John Stevenson, p.120.

    Local authority Private Total
    1919-24 176,914 221,543 398,457 /5 = 80,000
    1925-9 326,353 673,344 999,697 /5 = 135,000
    1930-4 286,350 804,251 1,090,601 /5 = 200,000
    1935-9 346,840 1,269,912 1,616,752 /5 = 323,000 per annum
    1940-4 — — 151,000
    1945-9 432,098 126,317 588,415
    1950-4 912,805 228,616 1,141,421 /5 = 228,000 per annum
    1955-9 688,585 623,024 1,311,609 /5 = 262,000
    1960-4 545,729 878,756 1,424,485 /5 = 285,000
    1965-9 761,224 994,361 1,755,585 /5 = 351,000
    1970-4 524,400 885,300 1,409,700 /5 = 282,000
    1975-9 542,292 746,506 1,288,798 /5 = 258,000
    1980-5 255,928 736,365 992,293 /5 = 198,000
    Note, from memory there were some years after 1985 when new housing starts rose to around 300,000, but the general 5 yearly average would be less than 200,000. So Labour’s 219,000 may have been above the annual average for the period 1982 – 2007. Of course, the fall in numbers built after 2008 relate to the world wide financial collapse of that year, something still being played out – due to George Osborn’s failed austerity economics. Indeed, if he’d continue to subsidize housebuilding, as Labour had, we might of been out of the Great Recession by 2013.14!

    2006/7 Labour 219,000 per annum
    2012-13 ComDems 135,500 per annum
    2015-16 ConDems 156,140
    Source: the figures in this blog.
    So the Tory, Gavin Barwell has been vary selective in his use of figures. He has also totally miss-read the lesson to be learnt from data covering the period he quoted. That being, when Mrs Thatcher’s government cut council house building neither housing associations nor private house builders stepped up to fill the void, that her dogmatic policies created. It has been argued for most the period after 1982, private house builders did not fill that void because not to do so pushed land and house prices up and so profits, too.
    Yes, there’s nothing like a dose of facts to sort a Conservative’s misrepresentation of the evidence. Not that you’d knwo that by reading the propaganda contained in England’s right-wing newsprint media. So come here instead.
    Though, unfortunately, I do not think I’ll be able to post here again.

    1. shaunt

      Unfortunately, the data on housing starts has not come out as I had formatted them. The figure quoted is the annual average taken from a 5 year range. So under this government there has been on average about 80 -90,000 less houses built per year than for the average year between 1935 – 1985 (excluding 1940 – 45); this is less than when local authorities built council houses.
      It’s not hard to work out why Jeremy Corbyn wants to let local authorities start rebuilding council houses, after a 30 year hiatus.

      1. shaunt

        Mike, It’s just the tab spaces have been taken out, which means the breakdown between local council and private house builders is not as clear as it was.

  3. Brian

    Evidence of ‘fed’ lines was prominent today from a BBC news caster who during interview abruptly countered a claim from an opposition statement of the governments house-building record by restating Gavin Barwell’s claims, with the words, “so there we have it”.

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