In his conference speech earlier today, Labour leader Ed Miliband made the following pledge:
We’ll identify new towns and garden cities and we’ll have a clear aim that by the end of the parliament Britain will be building 200,000 homes a year, more than at any time in a generation.
This has been analysed in an article in the Guardian which is somewhat skeptical about the numbers. The analysis includes a table of data about housebuilding in the UK over the last 30 years, though as ever it’s easier to understand the figures as a graph:
There are several features here that jump out of the graph in the way that they just don’t in the raw data. You can see the gradual transition from local authority housebuilding to housing associations over the 1980s and early 1990s, and the way that private housebuilding fell off a cliff after the financial crisis of 2008, though with housing associations rather less affected.
On this data, it is a bit puzzling why Ed Miliband says that 200,000 homes a year is “more than at any time in a generation”, seeing as there were more than that number being built as recently as 2007. And it’s not at all clear which sector Labour is expecting to do all the extra building that will be needed to return building to that 200,000 figure. Would any of my Labour readers care to comment?